It's really frightening for a parent to find out that his or her child has been detained by a law enforcement officer. According to California law, a police officer is not legally required to inform a parent that his or her child has been arrested, interrogated, or detained. The laws only require that a parent be notified when their child has already been taken to juvenile hall. Each law enforcement department could have its own rules and regulations for contacting parents sooner, although these might vary greatly amongst agencies.

If your child has been arrested, it is crucial that you remain calm and get professional legal counsel as soon as possible. Don't push your child to confess or incriminate themselves. Instead, try to learn more details about the incident. Allow your lawyer to handle the child's interests and speak with the law enforcement authorities. This blog goes into detail about what you should do if your child is arrested.

Remain Calm and Assess the Issue

If you receive a call from a law enforcement officer notifying you that your child has been apprehended and is being held at a local police station, it's important that you maintain your composure. You will probably feel irritated, angry, and worried, but you'll need to keep your composure to handle the issue as effectively as you can. You should act quickly and get to where your loved one is being held, but you should learn more about the case before taking any further action. Don't be quick to pass judgment on either your child or the authorities who detained them.

Once you get the alert, you should immediately report to the station. You can try to understand as much as you can about the incident and the facts surrounding the case. Try to talk to your child in person, but keep in mind that you have few legal options. Although you do not have a constitutional right to be there during the interrogation, you will typically be able to communicate with your child before the interview.

  • State laws differ, and some do call for parents to be consulted before questioning
  • Your child has the right to be represented by an attorney, but not necessarily by a parent
  • In most cases, the presence of a parent relies on the choice of the interrogating law enforcement officer

Don't Try To Be An Attorney

You will most likely be upset and outraged with your child, but it is critical that you remain calm and seek professional legal counsel. Do not try to pose as an attorney or do anything that would push your child to implicate themself. The best advice is to wait until you're accompanied by legal counsel. Well-intentioned parents can jeopardize their minor's case by accidentally renouncing their legal rights or consenting to an unnecessary search of their house. Even if you believe your child has committed an offense, you should not compel them to speak with the authorities or confess to doing anything. The law enforcement officers could have a weak case, and your child's future success could be greatly affected by a criminal record.

Do Not Argue With The Law Enforcement Officers

It is worth noting that the public is the law enforcement officer's responsibility. They are responsible for upholding the law and responding to reports of illegal activity. Even if you don't agree with the law enforcers or disapprove of their behavior, addressing or confronting the officers as a parent could end in a less ideal outcome for your loved one. If you suspect there's a problem with how the law enforcement officers managed your child's case, you should seek advice from your attorney who will represent your child.

Get Legal Counsel

If the law enforcers want to press charges on your child for an offense, you should seek professional legal counsel as soon as possible. You should retain the services of a lawyer specializing in Juvenile Law. Such an attorney will be more engaged and skilled to work with a minor and would strive to come up with a solution that will cater to your child's best interests. This could involve anything like drug treatment programs, and counseling to name a few. Criminal laws tend to prioritize the penalties of the offender over these elements.

Share The Information With Your Lawyer

If you have any details that could support your child's case, make sure to communicate them with your lawyer as early as possible. Your lawyer requires as much detail as possible to effectively argue your loved one's case. For instance, if you're aware of any witnesses who could testify in favor of your child, you can notify your attorney right away. If your loved one has a mental health concern or is physically handicapped, make sure your attorney is aware of it. These considerations will be taken into account when deciding the case. Even if you don't think it matters, give your lawyer the details and discuss with him or her your next steps.

Gather All Documentation That Will Help With Your Child's Case

One option you could take to support your loved one if the issue goes to court is to compile and gather paperwork and reports that attest to your child's personality and character. Look for records showing your child's accomplishments and diplomas. Gather all of his or her academic report cards and consider whom to call for character review and reference letters. You could ask local church members, teachers, employers, and neighbors.

Be cautious in how you respond to requests for character references. You'll have to be candid and explain why you require them. In any case, you will frequently be required to present the academic transcripts in court. Never send the court a forged letter regarding your child or any supporting documentation on your initiative. Always seek legal counsel before taking any actions and heed his or her counsel regarding what is and isn't proper.

Make Yourself Available For a Probationary Interview

If you are notified that your child is being taken to juvenile court, the probation department would reach out to you to ask for your child's background information. It is crucial that you attend this interview and give the probation department the details they will require to guarantee your child's safety and care. This is often handled over the phone. If the probation officer decides to hold your child in juvenile detention, it would be in your child's best interest to let probation know about any medical issues, disabilities, prescription medication, and special education programs that your child requires.

However, in some situations, what you mention in the interview would help to persuade the probation supervisor that you could offer adequate assistance and monitoring so that your child doesn't have to be detained. Note that any detail you give the probation officer regarding your child's conduct would be recorded in a report that will be submitted to the court and prosecution team assigned to the case.

Address the Problem

Your child would almost certainly be freed on bond, so take the opportunity to go through every step with him or her. Even though it could be uncomfortable and challenging, it's crucial that you face the problem head-on and try to find a solution together. Your response to the issue could have a significant effect on how a child handles the matter in the future. Try to be as open as possible to any underlying concerns that could have resulted in the illegal action. He or she must understand how serious the situation is. If the child finds it difficult to discuss it with you, encourage him or her to speak with a professional counselor. It is often easier for some people to express their emotions and challenges to strangers.

Assure Your Child That Everything is Fine

Being detained is a frightening situation, and your child, even if he or she doesn't show it, would be afraid and worried. It's critical that you strike the balance between making sure that the child grasps the severity of the issue and accepts responsibility for his or her actions, and reassuring your child that there is a solution to the matter. Explain that you'll stand by them and assist them in turning things around. Assure your child that you still care for them, but also let him or her know how his or her action affects your feelings. If your child understands the consequences of his or her actions or conduct on you, it could motivate them to reform.

Maintain Your Support and Participation

It's critical that you accept your parental duties and recognize that the parents play a substantial role in the severity of non-custodial sentences. You must collaborate with your child to make sure he or she adheres to the program to which he or she has been assigned. It might be drug treatment programs, a community service commitment, or a counseling appointment schedule. All programs will demand active participation, and those who do not show up could be held in detention. Since the parent is often obliged to attend these programs with his or her child, it is critical that you collaborate to make it through the case. Consider it an opportunity to mend mistakes before the repercussions become too severe.

Make Sure Your Child Understands His or Her Legal Rights

In addition to working to address any illegal activity and finding help for any alcohol or drug-related problems, your child must understand his or her rights when detained by law enforcement officers. Your child could be arrested again for several reasons. Being calm and knowing how to respond could make a significant difference. A repeat crime is often far more severe compared to the first offense. Ensure that your child knows that he or she must demand to talk to an attorney before speaking with law enforcement officers.

They should be aware that a law enforcement officer could easily misrepresent their level of knowledge. They need to understand that anything they disclose to the police could be used before a trial against them. Something that appears harmless at that moment could appear differently in court. As a general rule, do not communicate with law enforcement officers before consulting with an attorney.

Encourage Him or Her To Maintain a Clean Nose

Despite the challenges you and your young one are facing, make every effort to get her or him back to school and maintain a good grade level. Judges can be swayed by these seemingly small details more often than you might think, and it could be detrimental to the child's case if he or she continues to skip school for an extended period after the detention.

Make Sure You Are Aware Of The Terms Of Your Child's Probation Or Release

After a case is filed, some children could be discharged from the juvenile hall with a set of guidelines that should be observed throughout the legal process. Other minors could be sentenced to a variety of probation sentences if the case is resolved. It's crucial to follow all release or probation restrictions to avoid further complications. Whatever the specific terms of your child's probation or release, be sure to carefully review them. Contact your child's lawyer if you don't understand something or if it would be impossible or difficult for your child to execute what has been instructed for any of the requirements.

Expect Collateral Repercussions

You should be prepared for the consequences following the court hearing. If the arrested child is 16 years old, the judge would order that he or she be barred from driving until the case is resolved. There's also a high likelihood that your child will be suspended from his or her school for the period of the case.

In most states, the Department of Juvenile Justice, and public schools along with several other agencies, are partners of an Information Sharing Network, which implies that schools would be notified of a criminal charge or arrest against a child even if the crime did not occur on school grounds. As a result, most school systems have procedures and policies in place to manage such situations, and they often send students to off-campus instructions for the course of the lawsuit, which could last for several months.

The prosecution is responsible for making a filing decision on the child's case within the next twenty-one days. During this time, the prosecution analyzes the case, examines all of the evidence, talks with eyewitnesses, and runs any additional investigations. The prosecution could then choose to dismiss the case completely, enroll the minor in a diversion program, or pursue legal actions against the minor. During this period, your lawyer would most likely be engaging the designated prosecutor and seek to get the best possible deal for your son or daughter, based on the facts of each case.

Agree To a Plea Deal

If formal allegations are brought against your young one, you and your child must be ready to make a plea bargain. The next court appearance is referred to as an Arraignment. In this stage, your child may choose a plea of either not guilty, no contest, or guilty. Following that, pre-trial and trial dates would be scheduled, or if a plea is made at the court hearing, your young one would proceed directly to the sentencing stage.

Pre-trial proceedings are additional court appearances where the court sets the case for a trial hearing and confirms that all witnesses would be present at the court hearing. In juvenile court trials, the judges are the fact-finders because it's a non-jury hearing. Similar to any criminal proceeding, the Judge would hear testimonies from both the prosecution and the defense and make a decision of innocence or guilt from the bench.

Be Ready For a Probation Sentence

If a probation sentence is ordered, your child could be subjected to the court's order until their nineteenth birthday. Alternatively, they could be adjudicated delinquent, allowing their criminal conviction to be used against them in courts until they reach the age of 24. Probationary sentencing would involve both standard conditions like drug testing, school attendance, and curfew as well as specific conditions like essay writing and counseling.

In juvenile courts, these are the most common penalties or dispositions. Most states' juvenile justice systems are focused on a combination of rehabilitation and punishment, with the notion that most minors are better suited to community participation instead of being sent away to residential programs away from their families and homes.

Find a San Jose Criminal Lawyer Near Me

Juvenile courts are not the same as those used mostly for adults charged with criminal offenses. It is vital to consult with a lawyer who knows this specific legal system. We at the California Criminal Lawyer Group have many years of experience representing both juvenile and adult defendants in San Jose. Feel free to contact us at 408-622-0204 for more questions about what to do if your child has been arrested.