Has your child been arrested and charged with a crime?
This is almost every parent’s nightmare. However, it is important to remember that unlike adult court where the primary goal is punishment, in juvenile court the primary goal is rehabilitation. So firstly … take a deep breath.
The arrest of a child can be completely unexpected and the first thing to know is that there are resources and people to help you get through it. Juvenile court functions very different from adult court concerning pre-trial release. Depending on the severity of the crime that your child has been arrested for (Felony or Misdemeanor), your child will be given a score. That will determine whether or not the child can go home with you after their first court appearance or remain in secure detention for up to 21 days. The court can also impose certain restrictions on your child’s movement such as allowing them to go home but restrict them to home detention (not in the yard, not on the porch, INSIDE the house!)
Once the pre-trial issues are taken care of you will need to formulate a defense. Your child’s future is important and shouldn’t be defined by isolated incidents. An arrest does not mean a conviction. In addition to defending your child up to and through a trial, there are also many other options that we might be able to explore, such as programs, pre-trial diversion, and even acceptance of responsibility without the legal adjudication of guilt. You must contact an attorney early in this process as her / his prosecution starts the minute they are arrested … their defense should as well.