Juvenile Arrests & Court Information
Juvenile offenses are handled entirely differently than adult offenses. If your child is arrested, they’ll be taken to the juvenile detention center and processed. If they’ve committed a minor offense, the likelihood is they’ll be released directly back to the parent. If it’s a more serious or violent offense however, they’ll go before the judge to make a determination as to whether they should be held in secured detention or whether they’re permitted to go back home to their parent or legal guardian. In the event of a violent offense, they can be held for up to 21 days without any release while the state attorney’s office makes a decision about what to do with that charge. In certain circumstances, on more serious offenses for older children, they may even be charged as an adult. It’s really important in juvenile cases that you consult with an attorney early on.
What to expect in court
In Juvenile Court, minors that are charged with criminal offenses are brought before a judge to determine whether or not to put them on probation; whether they should be taken out of the family home, or what appropriate sanctions would be imposed. There are no jury trials in juvenile cases. The judge acts as the jury in those trials. In the event that you have an opportunity to defend the case, you’re going to be defending the case through the same process and in front of the same person that would also be presiding over the trial.
Strategy is very important in juvenile cases. You want to make sure that you understand what the law is that they’re accused of violating, what possible issues there might be in the case, and be able to proceed in a way that you’re not tipping your hand too much to the judge. That judge who presides over the legal arguments that you might make will be the same judge that’s going to be presiding over your criminal trial if you’re not able to resolve that case.