How a Juvenile Offense Impacts Parents

Interviewer: As a parent of a juvenile offender, how am I going to be affected by my child’s legal situation? Can I be held responsible?

Amir Ladan: It absolutely impacts the parent in a number of ways. First of all, as the parent you are obligated to ensure that your child shows up to court, which oftentimes means taking time off from work to drive them to and from various court hearings and court dates.

Where there is the possibility of financial liability, say, there was property taken or damaged, the parent is legally responsible to the victim to make sure that that’s taken care of. Then, if the child is ordered to do community service or undergo counseling, nine times out of ten it’s going to be the parent who is responsible for transporting them back and forth to these various things. The time impact is substantial on the parent.

Parental Responsibility: Missing a Court Date

Interviewer: As an aside, what happens if a parent accidentally or willfully doesn’t get a child to a court date, to community service or any of the things they have to do?

Amir Ladan: The judge can bring the parent into court to determine whether or not it was willful. The parent does have an obligation in this circumstance. If the court determines that the parent willfully allowed a child to miss a court date, they can find the parent in contempt of court and potentially punish the parent. The consequence for the child is having the judge issue a warrant for that kid’s arrest for failing to appear in court.

Interviewer: I see.

Amir Ladan: If it’s the parent’s fault that the juvenile is missing court, then the judges are reluctant to issue the arrest warrant because the child’s mode of transportation failed to do what they needed to do. The parent’s absolutely responsible for ensuring they provide regular transportation.

Bench Warrant for Failure to Appear in Court

Interviewer: That speaks to the seriousness of the situation. Even though the offender is a child, they still can be arrested on a bench warrant?

Amir Ladan: Yes, absolutely. A court appearance is a mandatory appearance. It’s not voluntary. You’ve got to show up. Failure to appear can lead to the issuance of a warrant for your arrest, also known as a “capias.” A capias is sometimes called a bench warrant. They’re interchangeable terms.

Author: Amir Ladan
A former assistant state attorney for Orange/Osceola Counties, Amir has handled thousands of cases and dozens of trials, ranging from DUI and traffic offenses to murder, in both adult and juvenile court.

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