Steps You Should Take If Your Child is Charged With a Crime and Arrested
There are few jobs on the planet as difficult as raising a child. As a parent, you are responsible for teaching your child right from wrong. In some cases, the lessons you provide your child can go in one ear and out the other. If your child insists on learning lessons about right and wrong the hard way, they might find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Every year, over 250,000 juveniles are arrested and incarcerated in the United States.
Receiving a call from your child informing you about their arrest can be extremely stressful. Rather than allowing the stress of this situation to lead to bad decision-making, you need to keep your composure. Here are some steps you need to take if your child is charged with a crime and arrested.
Contact An Attorney Immediately
When your child is being detained for a crime, you need to seek out legal help immediately. Letting the arresting officer know that you don’t want your child answering questions without a lawyer present is important. In some cases, the fear your child has can lead to them answering questions before their legal representation is present. It is the job of a criminal defense attorney to guide you and your child through this process.
Having an attorney can also help you get the charges against your child reduced. If your child is a first-time offender, a lawyer might be able to get them into a diversionary program. These programs are designed to keep children out of juvenile detention centers. Ideally, you want to hire a lawyer that has dealt with juvenile delinquency cases before.
Be Present At Your Child’s Hearing
Once your child has been arrested and processed, a hearing will be scheduled. During your child’s first court appearance, you need to make sure you are present. The first appearance your child has in court is generally referred to as a detention hearing. During this hearing, the presiding judge will state the cause of your child’s arrest. Being present at these hearings will allow you to learn more about the charges your child is facing and how the judge wants to proceed.
Entering a Plea
You need to prepare to enter a plea if your child is formally charged with a crime. If charges are being pursued, you will learn about them at the arraignment. During the arraignment, your child will have to enter a plea. Consulting with your child’s lawyer is crucial when trying to figure out how to plea to the charges. Once a plea is entered, a trial will be scheduled.
You need to realize that trials in juvenile court don’t feature a jury. This means that the judge will decide your child’s fate. With the help of a lawyer, you can build a winning defense.
Using the tips laid out in this article can help you avoid making mistakes if your child is charged with a crime and arrested.