If your child is charged with a juvenile offense, the coming court process is probably a mystery to you. You want to do everything that you can to help your child, but you might not know where to start. Understanding the basics of the juvenile court process is a good way to support your child at this time. It will help you prepare and can reduce some of you and your child’s nerves. On this page, I will go over some of the basics of the juvenile court process so that you and your child can feel more prepared moving forward.
You as the parent will be notified as soon as your child is arrested. Because your child is a minor, this must happen. The police cannot hold your child without your knowledge. At this point, it is important that you explain to the police and to your child that your child will not be interrogated by the police.
The police need your permission to interrogate your child. If you say no, they cannot conduct a formal interrogation. It is in your child’s best interest not to talk to the police, so saying no to an interrogation is a good idea. Remind your child that they are not obligated to answer a police officer’s questions and that they should invoke their right to remain silent as soon as possible.
At this point, it is a good idea to appear at the police station. If possible, having a juvenile defense attorney with you is a good idea. You can get more information once you get to the police station.
In most cases, your child will be released into your custody at this point. Juvenile detention is reserved for situations with repeat offenders or minors who are accused of serious offenses. So chances are, you will be allowed to take your child home with you.
Preparing for Court
If your child is charged with an offense, they will most likely have to appear in juvenile court. It is your responsibility to make sure that your child appears in court at the appointed time. If they do not appear in court, it will only make the situation worse.
If your child was released into your custody on special conditions outlined by the court, it is also your responsibility to make sure that they abide by those conditions. Common conditions for release might include:
- Consistent school attendance.
- A curfew.
- Submitting to random drug tests.
- No possession of drugs, alcohol, or firearms.
- A probation officer will be assigned to your child’s case and check up on them to make sure that they abide by the rules.
To prepare for court, it is a good idea to contact a juvenile defense attorney. Such attorneys understand the courts and the judges in Connecticut, and they can help your family prepare for the situation.
Most likely, your child will attend juvenile court. This is the popular option for minors. Juvenile court is designed to rehabilitate a juvenile offender, not punish them. You, your child, and your lawyer will talk to the judge and find a solution that will give your child the resources that they need.
Some cases are sent to the adult docket, especially if your child is a repeat offender or if they are accused of a serious crime. Adult court is more serious, and you should contact a lawyer for help.