As a parent, receiving notification that your child has been placed under arrest can be devastating. If this is your first experience with the juvenile justice system, you likely have many questions and concerns about your child’s rights and what to expect from the legal process. While the juvenile justice system attempts to steer young offenders towards treatment, training, counseling, and rehabilitation programs, the process can still seem intimidating and overwhelming to both parents and juveniles alike. Below are some concrete steps you can take as soon as you learn that your child has been taken into custody.
Step #1: Try to Stay Calm and Provide Support for Your Child
Receiving a phone call from the authorities that your child has been taken into custody for allegedly committing a crime can certainly cause you to feel anxious and even frightened. However, even if you are falling to pieces on the inside, remember that your child needs you and will look to you as a source of support and stability during this difficult time. As you meet with law enforcement officials during questioning and appear with your child in court, try to maintain a calm and cool demeanor as much as possible. In most cases, your child will be reassured by your collected appearance and feel stronger and more optimistic about what the future holds.
Step #2: Familiarize Yourself With Your Child’s Legal Rights
Like any adult who is placed under arrest, your child has the right to contact you after they are taken into custody. They also have the right to know the exact crimes of which they are being accused. Law enforcement is also obligated to make a reasonable attempt to contact the child’s parents or guardians. Unfortunately, some officials may try to chat with the juvenile “as a friend” and claim that they are “simply listening to your side of the story.” Many frightened juveniles may end up sharing incriminating information during these “informal” conversations, so be sure to arrive at the detention center as soon as possible to defend your child’s right to remain silent.
Step #3: Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
Your child has the right to an attorney, although members of the juvenile justice system may try to downplay the necessity of hiring an attorney. Often, officers and investigators will say that a juvenile defense attorney is unnecessary, or that it just makes the process more complicated. Don’t let them dissuade you from contacting an attorney as soon as you can so that you can ensure your child has a vocal advocate in their corner. A juvenile defense attorney will take the time to listen to what your child has to say, and can provide a compelling argument for connecting your child to the resources and programs they need in order to steer their life in a more positive direction.
To learn more about your juvenile defense options in the Brazoria County area, contact the Law Offices of Keith Allen, PLLC at (832) 230-0075 today to schedule your free consultation.