Family Court, or Juvenile Court, of Jefferson County exercises jurisdiction in matters involving children. These matters might include cases in which a child is alleged to be delinquent, dependent, or in need of supervision. The Court also exercises jurisdiction over other proceedings, including establishment of paternity and child support enforcement as well as protection from abuse. Proceedings before the juvenile court judge and juvenile court records are confidential (not open to the public). There are no jury trials in juvenile court.
The Bessemer Division of the Jefferson County Family Court serves the citizens of the Bessemer Cut-Off in the areas of delinquent, dependent, and children in need of supervision. The Bessemer Division of the Jefferson County Family Court also presides over cases involving adults, which include paternity and child support.
A delinquent is a child under the age of 18 who has committed an offense which, if the individual were an adult, would be considered a crime. A dependent is a child who is orphaned, neglected, or abused and in need of care. A Child in Need of Supervision (CHINS) is one who has committed an act which, if that child were an adult, would not be considered a crime but is in need of care or rehabilitation, such as one who is habitually truant, disobedient to parents, or is a runaway.
There are some cases which the juvenile court cannot hear even if the individual is under the age of 18. The juvenile court does not have jurisdiction over juveniles 16 years of age or older charged with traffic offenses, except for driving under the influence (DUI) cases, or juveniles 16 years of age or older charged with any of the following offenses, which, if they were committed by an adult, would be:
- a capital offense;
- a Class A felony;
- a felony which has an element of the offense the use of a deadly weapon;
- a felony which has as an element the causing of death or serious physical injury;
- a felony which involves the use of a dangerous instrument against certain officials or persons; and
- trafficking in drugs.
Jefferson County Family Court
120 2nd Ct. North, Birmingham AL 35204
Birmingham (205) 325-5491 Bessemer (205) 481-4225