Basics of CINS Cases Under Maryland Juvenile Law

Child in Need of Supervision (CINS) Cases

A CINS case is for a child that requires supervision if they have committed a juvenile-specific crime. These types of acts include truancy, running away from home, violating curfew laws, posing a danger to themselves or others, disobedience, and ungovernable behavior. 

CINS cases involve offenses that, if committed by adults, would not be crimes. As such, these cases are different from juvenile delinquency cases. CINS programs are intended to provide intervention services for children who are at risk of delinquency or having more serious encounters with law enforcement. 

Specifically, under Maryland law a “Child in Need of Supervision” is defined as “a child who requires guidance, treatment, or rehabilitation and:

        (1)    Is required by law to attend school and is habitually truant;

        (2)    Is habitually disobedient, ungovernable, and beyond the control of the person having custody of him;

        (3)    Deports himself so as to injure or endanger himself or others; or

        (4)    Has committed an offense applicable only to children.”

Md. Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, Section 3-8A-01(e)

Steps in a CINS Case

  • Complaint or Citation: 

The first step is a complaint or citation to the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). A complaint typically comes from a person or agency, whereas a citation comes from a law enforcement officer for certain offenses. 

  • Petition: 

An intake officer at the DJS will review the complaint or citation. This process may involve conducting an interview with the child and their parent and/or guardian. The intake officer will decide whether action is warranted and whether to file a petition with the court. If they do, the juvenile court will hold an adjudicatory hearing. 

  • Adjudicatory Hearing: 

If the DJS intake officer has filed a petition, the juvenile court will hold an adjudicatory hearing within 60 days to determine if the allegations are true. In CINS cases and other types of juvenile cases, the Circuit Court sits as a juvenile court. Each side can present evidence and witnesses at the adjudicatory hearing. The juvenile judge or magistrate will determine whether the allegations in the petition have been proven by a preponderance of the evidence and issue their decision. If they find the allegations have been proven, a disposition hearing will be set. 

  • Disposition Hearing: 

At this stage, the judge or magistrate determines whether the child requires guidance, treatment, or rehabilitation — and if so, what kind of services would benefit the child and address their needs. The child and their family are typically connected with a local case manager who will coordinate these services. 

Rights During a CINS Case

When a petition is filed in juvenile court alleging a child is in need of supervision, the child has a right to the assistance of counsel. In a CINS case, a child has the right to call witnesses on their behalf and cross-examine witnesses. Even if a child does not intend to contest any allegations in the petition, their counsel is valuable in helping present material and obtaining a more favorable disposition. 



Consult an Experienced Juvenile Law Attorney

Juvenile law is unique, and Bethany Shechtel, Esquire has guided clients through juvenile cases for years. To discuss your situation or if you have any questions, contact BGS Law today.



The content on this website is published for general information only, and is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion(s). Relevant legal advice can be given, and relied upon, only after firm has entered into an agreement to represent client(s). 


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