Section 12-15-212

Conduct of delinquency and child in need of supervision hearings.

(a) If the allegations are denied, the juvenile court shall proceed to hear evidence on the petition. If the juvenile court finds on proof beyond a reasonable doubt, based upon competent, material, and relevant evidence, that the child committed the acts by reason of which the child is alleged to be delinquent or in need of supervision, the juvenile court shall record its findings and proceed to determine whether the child is in need of care or rehabilitation. If the juvenile court finds that the allegations in the petition have not been established, the juvenile court shall dismiss the petition and order the child discharged from any detention or temporary care, theretofore ordered in the proceedings.

(b) If the child admits to the allegations contained in the petition, the juvenile court shall record its findings and proceed to determine whether the child is in need of care or rehabilitation.

(c) When the allegations have been proven pursuant to subsections (a) or (b), the juvenile court may proceed immediately to hear evidence as to whether the child is in need of care or rehabilitation and to file its findings thereon. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, a finding that the child has committed an act that constitutes a felony is sufficient to sustain a finding that the child is in need of care or rehabilitation. If the juvenile court finds that the child is not in need of care or rehabilitation, it shall dismiss the proceedings and discharge the child from any detention or other temporary care. If the juvenile court finds from clear and convincing evidence, competent, material, and relevant in nature, that the child is in need of care or rehabilitation in the absence of objection showing good cause or at a postponed hearing, the juvenile court may make proper disposition of the case.

(d) In dispositional hearings, all relevant and material evidence helpful in determining the questions presented, including verbal and written reports, may be received by the juvenile court and may be relied upon to the extent of its probative value, even though not competent in a hearing on the petition. The parties or their counsel shall be afforded an opportunity to examine and controvert written reports so received and to cross-examine individuals making reports.

(e) On its own motion or that of a party, the juvenile court may continue the dispositional hearing for a reasonable period to receive reports and other evidence bearing on the disposition or need for care or rehabilitation. In this event, the juvenile court shall make an appropriate order for detention or temporary care for the child, or the release of the child from detention or temporary care during the period of the continuance, subject to those conditions as the juvenile court may impose.

(Act 2008-277, p. 441, §13.)