Wisconsin CHIPS, JIPS and Juvenile Delinquency Attorneys in Milwaukee

Wisconsin Juvenile Law Attorneys - Children's Court Lawyer in Milwaukee

The juvenile law attorneys at Gamino Law Offices, LLC represent parties to children’s court matters throughout Wisconsin, including Milwaukee. We represent both parents and children in Wisconsin children’s courts. We have experience in the following areas of juvenile law:

  • Adoption
  • CHIPS cases (Children In Need of Protection or Services)
  • JIPs cases (Juveniles in Need of Protection or Services)
  • Juvenile delinquency cases (from misdemeanor criminal offenses through serious sexual assault and weapons offenses)
  • Step-parent adoption

Find a Milwaukee lawyer to protect your family in Wisconsin Children’s Court

To be sure, our Wisconsin juvenile law attorneys find that children’s court cases are some of the most enjoyable. We love working in children’s court because we know the work we do genuinely makes a difference in the lives of children, parents, and families. We understand that these circumstances do not define who a child is and that they can rise above the situation that brought them before the court. In particular, parties in children’s court need to receive the proper tools and sound legal advice. In summary, in Wisconsin juvenile law matters, there is always room for growth and hope!

FAQ about CHIPs, JIPs, and Juvenile Delinquency

  • What is a CHIPs case?
  • What is a JIPs case?
  • Are there differences between a misdemeanor or felony criminal charge and a delinquency petition?
  • What is a waiver petition?
  • What is a reverse waiver petition?
  • Are there possible penalties if my child is accused of a crime and found delinquent?
  • What rights does my child have if charged with a juvenile delinquency offense in Wisconsin?
  • Do I need a lawyer if my child has a CHIPS, JIPS, or delinquency case?

Information about Wisconsin Children’s Court & Juvenile Law

What is a CHIPS petition?

CHIPS is an acronym for petitions in children’s court matters where a child is alleged to be in need of protection or services.  For example, a prosecutor may bring a CHIPS petition under Wisconsin Statutes § 48.13 in cases where any of the following allegations exist: the

  • child
    • is without a parent or guardian
    • has been abandoned
    • is at substantial risk of becoming a victim of abuse
    • has been abused
    • is receiving inadequate care while a parent is missing, incarcerated, hospitalized or institutionalized
  • child’s parent
    • has relinquished custody under Wisconsin Statutes §48.195(1)
    • or guardian is unable or needs assistance to provide for the special needs of the child
  • parent neglects or is unable or unwilling to provide necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care or shelter which seriously endangers the physical health of the child
  • the child is without a parent or guardian
  • the child has been abandoned
  • the child’s parent has relinquished custody under Wisconsin Statutes §48.195(1)
  • the child is at substantial risk of becoming a victim of abuse
  • the child has been abused
  • the child’s parent or guardian is unable or needs assistance to provide for the special needs of the child
  • the parent neglects or is unable or unwilling to provide necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care or shelter which seriously endangers the physical health of the child
  • the child receives inadequate care while a parent is missing, incarcerated, hospitalized or institutionalized

Similarly, someone concerned for the well being of a child may file a CHIPS petition. For example, the following parties commonly seek a CHIPS petition: the district attorney; corporation counsel; a parent or guardian; a social worker with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHFS); and sometimes by a child; a lawyer or guardian ad litem for a parent, guardian, or child.​  

What is a JIPS petition?

​JIPS is an acronym for Juvenile in Need of Protection or Services.  JIPS cases may be brought against children under the age of 18 when parents are unable to control the juvenile. For example, a child who is habitually truant from home or school, or the child who dropped out of school. Similarly, the state sometimes pursues a JIPS action in lieu of juvenile delinquency petitions. Specifically, the prosecutor may file a JIPS case when a criminal (delinquent) act has been committed by a child under age 10. Likewise, the prosecutor may seek a JIPS petition when the court makes a finding of incompetency to proceed or NGI for a child alleged to have committed a delinquent act. In short, an NGI finding means the juvenile is not responsible for the criminal (delinquent) act by reason of mental disease or defect.

What is the difference between being charged with a criminal misdemeanor or felony offense and a juvenile delinquency petition?

Our justice system seeks to protect the community from criminal activity, whether caused by the actions of juveniles or adults. However, the vision of the Wisconsin juvenile justice system is that juveniles should not be defined by their mistakes. Similarly, another vision of the juvenile justice system is that children need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to allow them to live successfully in the community as adults. Therefore, one of the goals of Wisconsin juvenile law is to provide early intervention and treatment that will divert juvenile offenders from the juvenile justice system by responding to the child’s care and treatment needs in order to prevent future criminal behavior.  Specifically, the belief is that responding to the juvenile’s care and treatment needs may avoid punitive sanctions or incarceration for the juvenile.

When is a case supposed to start in juvenile court?

Most charges for criminal offenses in Wisconsin brought against children under age 17 start in children’s court by way of a delinquency petition. On the other hand, jurisdiction for criminal charges filed against juveniles age 17 or over lies in the standard adult criminal courts of the State of Wisconsin. However, adult criminal courts in Wisconsin have jurisdiction over juveniles charged with the following offenses:

  • assault or battery by a prisoner after the juvenile has previously been found delinquent and placed in juvenile corrections, detention or secure residential care
  • any juvenile alleged to have committed an act of first-degree intentional homicide
  • anyone aged 10 or over alleged to have committed an act of first-degree reckless homicide or second-degree intentional homicide
  • any criminal offense committed by a juvenile who has been convicted of, or has a matter pending for, any offense after having been waived into adult court or for which original jurisdiction is in adult court.
What does it mean if the state has filed a waiver petition in a juvenile delinquency proceeding?

It means the prosecutor wants the judge to send the Wisconsin juvenile case to an adult criminal court. In Wisconsin, the prosecutor may seek to waive a juvenile into adult court if the child is age 14 or over and the child faces charges of committing certain crimes, for example:

  • acts of felony murder
  • second degree reckless homicide
  • first degree sexual assault
  • taking a hostage
  • kidnapping
  • robbery
  • burglary
  • manufacturing, distribution or delivery of a controlled substance
  • or almost any felony as a result of gang involvement

Once a juvenile reaches the age of 15, a prosecutor may seek a waiver to adult court based on any violation of Wisconsin criminal law. To this end, at any hearing to waive a juvenile into adult court a juvenile must be represented by a lawyer. With this in mind, if the prosecutor files a waiver petition against your child in Wisconsin, you want to find the best Milwaukee juvenile law attorney to defend your child.

What rights does my child have in a Wisconsin juvenile court waiver hearing?

Juveniles facing a waiver hearing also have additional rights during the hearing. For example, a juvenile facing a Wisconsin waiver hearing has the right to testify, to cross-examine witnesses, and to present witnesses in his or her defense. At the conclusion of the hearing, if the judge decides it is in the juvenile’s or the public’s best interests to move the case to adult court then the juvenile court shall “waive jurisdiction.” If the juvenile court waives jurisdiction, then the matter will be referred to the district attorney’s office to file charges against the juvenile in adult criminal court.

What does it mean to file a reverse waiver petition?

If the state charges a juvenile with a criminal charge in adult court, the child may request that the court send the case back to juvenile. Thereafter, if the judge sends the case to juvenile court, the juvenile would face the penalties and dispositions available to juvenile offenders instead of being charged as an adult. However, if a juvenile’s reverse waiver petition is successful, the juvenile avoids adult penalties at sentencing.  Therefore, if your child is facing criminal charges in Wisconsin and eligible to have the case heard in children’s court, you want to find the best juvenile lawyer in Wisconsin to file a reverse waiver petition and try to send the case to juvenile court.

What penalties can the judge impose on a juvenile charged with delinquency for a crime?

​A juvenile charged with delinquency may be removed from the home, or ordered to comply with supervision at home while the case is pending. Prior to disposition in a juvenile delinquency matter, the court may hold a child in a secure detention facility, or in an adult jail under certain circumstances. For example, a judge may order a juvenile held in a jail or detention facility if there is probable cause that the juvenile has committed a delinquent act and has a substantial risk of running away or causing physical harm to another. Strong Wisconsin juvenile attorneys argue to keep kids safe at home and with their family while the case is pending.

After the prosecutor files a delinquency petition the court may order a juvenile to undergo physical, psychological, mental or developmental examination, or as an outpatient for drug or alcohol abuse. However, the judge can only order those things if the judge finds reasonable cause to do so. The judge may also require the juvenile to submit to an HIV test, or a test for sexually transmitted diseases, under some circumstances.

Do any alternatives exist to avoid being adjudged delinquent?

There are alternatives available for a juvenile facing a delinquency petition. For example, a juvenile can enter into deferred prosecution agreements for up to one year. Similarly, a juvenile can agree to a consent decree and get counseling, alcohol or drug abuse assessments or treatment, restitution, community service, supervision or probation. A knowledgeable Wisconsin juvenile lawyer knows how to work with the prosecuting attorneys to negotiate a favorable alternative to a delinquency adjudication.

Dispositions available to juveniles adjudged delinquent include the following:
  • Aftercare supervision
  • Alcohol or drug treatment or education
  • Community service or supervised work
  • Counseling
  • Day treatment programming
  • Driver’s license suspension or restrictions
  • Drug testing
  • Educational programming
  • Electronic monitoring
  • Experiential education (wilderness challenge)
  • Fines or forfeitures
  • Independent living
  • Intensive supervision
  • Juvenile detention facility or a juvenile portion of a county jail for up to 30 days​
  • Juvenile offender education program
  • Legal custody transfer to a relative, county department, or  a licensed child welfare agency​
  • Payment of a victim-witness surcharge of $20
  • Payment of restitution
  • Placement in:
    • A correctional facility
    • Foster care
    • A group home​
    • Home of a parent or relative
    • Residential care or treatment center
    • Treatment foster care
  • Restrictions on:
    • Body armor
    • Firearms
    • Driver’s licenses
    • Use of Computers
  • Serious juvenile offender program
  • Sex offender reporting or registration supervision
  • Teen court
  • Victim-offender mediation
  • Vocational training
  • Volunteers in probation
  • Youth report center
What rights do children have in court for when charged with juvenile delinquency?

​Under § 938 of the Wisconsin Statutes, if anyone takes a juvenile into custody the juvenile an entitlement exists to have his or her parents notified. Similarly, juveniles have the same fair hearings and due process that attends to any criminal matter. Specifically, Wisconsin law recognizes all constitutional and other legal rights for juveniles. However, juveniles do not have a right to a jury trial in delinquency proceedings. Our Wisconsin juvenile law attorneys in Milwaukee can answer any questions you have about delinquency proceedings at a free consultation in our office.

The rights juveniles must be provided include the following:

  • Recording of any custodial interrogations
  • Against self-incrimination, and to be told of the 5th Amendment right to remain silent
  • To be:
    • represented by a lawyer
    • given a copy of any delinquency petition
    • given prior notice of any delinquency hearing
    • informed of the allegations against him or her, the nature and consequence of the hearing or future hearings, the right to a lawyer, the right to remain silent, the fact that silence may not be used against the juvenile, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and the right to present witnesses
  • To have a
    • hearing by the end of the day following the day a juvenile was taken into custody and not released, or to be released if a hearing is not held within 24 hours of the end of the day when the juvenile was detained
    • petition or written statement filed by the time of the hearing for a juvenile in custody or be released, or, if an extension to file a petition is granted, to be released within 48 hours after the hearing if no petition has been filed
    • petition filed within 20 days of an intake worker’s request that a petition be filed for a juvenile who is not held in custody, or of a notice a case has been closed, or of notice of a deferred prosecution agreement
  • Also to have every effort made to be released from custody to a parent, guardian or legal custodian
Do I need to hire a lawyer to defend CHIPs, JIPs or delinquency charges?

​CHIPS and JIPS cases can be serious juvenile court proceedings. The result of a CHIPS or JIPS case may involve very serious consequences, such as:

  • a child being removed from the parent’s home
  • affecting the child’s welfare and parental rights
  • establishing the foundation for even more serious juvenile court action in the future such as termination of parental rights, or similar actions involving other children in the home.
Do we have a right to a juvenile lawyer in Wisconsin?

Both parents and children may have legal representation in CHIPS or JIPS matters. Similarly, juveniles always have a right to be represented in delinquency proceedings. It is important that you consult with an experienced Wisconsin juvenile lawyer. In particular, knowledgable Wisconsin CHIPS, JIPS or delinquency juvenile law attorneys can assist you in any of these serious situations: if there are allegations of abuse or neglect by a parent or of criminal conduct by a child, or if a CHIPS, JIPS or delinquency case is pending in court.

Our dedicated and compassionate Wisconsin children’s court attorneys in Milwaukee can also assist with:

  • Aftercare services
  • Consent decrees
  • Deferred prosecution agreements
  • Juvenile probation or supervision
  • Permanency planning
  • Petitions for a change in placement
  • Extension of dispositional orders
  • Revision of dispositional orders
  • Petitions for sanctions
  • Petitions for temporary restraining orders or injunctions
  • Termination of parental rights

In conclusion, contact us for a free initial consultation with Milwaukee, Wisconsin juvenile attorneys. Your children’s court lawyer can assist with any CHIPS, JIPS, delinquency, adoption or other juvenile court matters in Wisconsin.