When the police arrest a child it is not unlike when they arrest an adult. They must inform your child of his or her constitutional rights prior to entering into any interrogation of the child. However, when a child is arrested, all of the records are considered confidential and are not open for public review or inspection. Your child will not usually be taken directly to the county jail. Your child will instead likely be taken instead to the juvenile detention center. While the juvenile detention center is very similar to a jail it is designed for minors and there is no contact with adult offenders. When you become aware of your child being arrested your first call should be to our office while you are on your way to the location of your child. We can advise you and help you help your child or we can come to the detention center to assist you immediately. Attorneys are available to speak to you at 321-631-0506 24/7.
The Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has the authority to release your child to you or another responsible adult depending upon the severity of the crime and your child’s arrest history. Both the police and DJJ are required by law to make a good faith effort to contact a child’s parent or legal guardian as soon as practical. If DJJ releases the child to you, you will be given a date to return to court. It is mandatory that you return to court on the date, time and place specified or the judge may issue a pick-up order to place your child back in custody until the child can appear before the judge.
It is important that you, as a parent, take the juvenile court system seriously because there are many ways in which the system can come back to haunt your son or daughter after they reach the age of majority. Since juvenile court by its very nature is dealing with young people who have their whole lives ahead of them it is foolish not to treat the matter with the same seriousness with which the law treats felony offenders. You will find it helpful to consult with an attorney familiar with juvenile court procedures prior to appearing before the judge. Your child’s first appearance before a judge should be within 24 hours after arrest. Don’t let your child speak to the judge without you speaking to an attorney first.
The purpose of the juvenile court system is to rehabilitate and not punish your child. A juvenile is not entitled to a jury trial, instead any juvenile trial will be before a Judge. For less serious offenses, like Retail Theft, programs are available that, if completed successfully, result in the charges being dropped. More serious offenses can be tried in the adult criminal court and/or result in probation or incarceration.
You need skilled representation for your child’s case. Our attorneys have over 100 years combined experience. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation (321) 631-0506.