My Child Was Arrested, What Now?
When a juvenile is taken into custody by the police, there are several that can happen. Your child could be questioned and released without being arrested or he could be charged with a crime. Even if your child is charged with a crime, this does not mean that he or she will remain in the county jail. In some cases, a juvenile is sent home with his or her parents pending arraignment. However, a juvenile under the age of 17 years can be held in custody pending the court hearing under certain circumstances. If the case is a criminal case, the child is facing felony charges; or, there is a reason to believe the child committed a felony, he or she may remain incarcerated pending arraignment. However, the county sheriff must approve the transfer of a juvenile under 17 years of age to county lockup and make arrangements for the child to be kept separate from adults being detained in the facility.
Immediate Steps to Take When Your Child is Arrested
Your first impulse will be to run to your child and hold your child to make sure he or she is okay. You may or may not be allowed to do this depending on the situation. However, there are things you can do right now that will help protect your child’s legal rights. Remember your child has the same legal rights as an adult who has been accused of committing a crime. These rights include:
- The right to remain silent;
- The right not to say anything that may incriminate himself or herself;
- The right to be represented by an attorney skilled in juvenile defense;
- The presumption of being innocent until proven guilty;
- The right to a trial;
- The right to cross-examine witnesses, product witnesses, testify on his or her behalf and offer other evidence to support his or her innocence
It is extremely important that you understand your child’s rights, the law related to the alleged crime, the law governing trials, and the potential punishments for a guilty plea or verdict. After your child has been arrested or if you believe your child is about to be arrested or questioned:
- Remain calm — yes, this can be very difficult, but you cannot think clearly when you are upset and your child could become more upset by watching your reaction.
- Contact our office immediately to speak with one of our criminal lawyers.
- Instruct your child not to answer any questions without you or the attorney being present.
- Inform law enforcement that you do not consent to your child being questioned outside of your presence.
- Refrain from answering questions from the police until you have spoken with your attorney (avoid getting caught up in the belief that you can “talk” your child out of this situation because what you say could make the matter worse).
- Do not give the police consent to search your property. The police may return with a search warrant, or they may proceed with the search if they believe they have probable cause to do so. Never try to stop the police from searching, but do NOT give them your consent to do so.
[vc_column_text]The most important thing is to ensure your child is safe and he or she is doing well given the circumstances. Your juvenile criminal defense lawyer can help you gain information about your child’s well-being and begin the process of gaining access to see and talk to your child. Our first priority is the safety and well-being of your child.
Common Questions About the Juvenile Justice Systems
For many parents, this is the first contact with the juvenile justice system and, for some, the first time dealing with the justice system other than serving on jury duty. Our attorneys will answer each question you have throughout the entire process. Common questions we receive from parents of children facing criminal charges include:
Will my child be tried as an adult?
In most cases, a child under the age of 17 years is not tried as an adult. However, there are some crimes that require the child to be tried as an adult, such as violent crimes including murder. Factors that will be considered when deciding whether to charge the child as an adult include the nature of the crime, psychological history, and past criminal behavior.
What is an arraignment?
The arraignment is the first time your child will appear in court. You should ensure that your child has an attorney before the arraignment. During the arraignment, the charges against your child are explained, the court explains your child’s constitutional rights, your child must enter a plea, the bond is set, and the next court date is scheduled.
How can I post bond?
A bond is simply a condition for release and is often a monetary amount but can include no driving, no alcohol, must attending school, no contact with the victim, etc. For a cash bond, you may post a percentage of the amount with the court. You can contact a bail bondsman to assist with posting a surety bond. Depending on the circumstances, the court may release your child to you on a Personal Recognizance Bond (PR Bond), meaning you only pay money to the court if your child fails to show up for hearings.
How can I help my child?
By hiring a Lansing juvenile criminal defense attorney, you have taken the best step to protect your child. However, you can also get information about state and local services that you may use after your child is released. The Bureau of Juvenile Justice and the Juvenile Justice Assignment Unit has services and resources available for parents.
Contact The Clark Law Office Now to Help Your Child Avoid Jail
To request your free legal consultation with a Lansing juvenile criminal defense attorney, contact our office by telephone at 517-347-6900.