What You Should Do If Your Child is Arrested?
It goes without saying if your child gets arrested, you will both be upset. The police and the judicial system know kids make mistakes that result in arrest. Their jobs are to enforce the law and what the outcome will be for your child is dependent on the judge, jurisdiction, the state you live in, and the severity of the offense. You will need to take steps to protect your child and your family. Once you know your child is safe, you need to hire a good lawyer. Then with the lawyer’s guidance, educate yourself on your state’s laws concerning juveniles and how juvenile court works.
What is a Juvenile Offense?
A juvenile offence or juvenile delinquency is by definition “an act by a juvenile under the age of 18 that if committed by an adult would constitute a crime, a disorderly persons offense, a petty disorderly persons offense, or a violation of any other penal statute, ordinance or regulation. The courts goal in juvenile matters is rehabilitation and accountability. Each case is handled on an individual basis according to the law and based on the individual circumstances of the case.
Will My Child Appear in Court?
Because someone has accused your child of committing an act that is against the law, your child will be appearing in court. The court will provide you with a copy of the complaint, a legal court document describing the alleged illegal conduct. Typically police sign complaints but they can also be signed by school officials, victims or probation officers. Complainants are based on either personal observation or information supplied by others such as victims.
What Will Happen in Court?
Juvenile Court is a special court that deals with minors who have been charged with a crime and will determine if the charges have merit and if the minor is delinquent. The court depends on a petition from an intake officer as well as other factors when making a decision. The seriousness of the offense, the child’s age, any past record, evidence presented, social history and school records are all reviewed when deciding what is best for your child. The court may decide to place the child in a juvenile facility, at home with the parents, in a therapeutic residential treatment facility, or in foster care. If your child is not held in one of the above mentioned facilities, you will receive notice of when and where to appear to address the charges. If your child has been accused of a more serious crime, juvenile court can reassign the minor to be charged as an adult.
Does Your Child Need a Lawyer?
This, of course, is your decision but based on what you’ve read you are probably thinking a lawyer is a really good idea. Depending on the type of crime, your child could be looking at more than a smack on the hand. This arrest could affect their entire future. Even a minor offense, if not handled properly, could follow them the rest of their lives. A lawyer will know and protect your child’s rights. While a conviction can be a permanent scar on your child’s record, if at all possible, a lawyer will prevent your child from being convicted. If there is a conviction, depending on the type of crime, the lawyer may be able to have the offense and resulting conviction expunged from your child’s record.
It is not only in your best interest but also your child’s best interest to consult with an attorney if your child is charged with a Juvenile Offense. The Law Office of Thomas V. Campo has handled hundreds of juvenile matters throughout the State of New Jersey. Mr. Campo has been studying the law since 1990. A former prosecutor with over 20 years of experience in criminal law, Mr. Campo is knowledgeable and ready to help you with your child’s juvenile offense case and if applicable, with an expungement. To schedule a consultation, contact Mr. Campo’s office today.