Getting a phone call from your child’s school about their misbehavior is not fun for any parent. However, it’s probably a lot less stressful then having a police officer call to tell you your child is at the station.
There is a lot of anger and frustration you might face when your child gets into some legal trouble. But having background knowledge about the ins and outs of juvenile court can help lift some of the uneasiness you may feel.
When a child violates state law and police apprehend a minor, the police will let the local juvenile court know about the violation. From there, the case usually heads in one of two directions — in or outside of court.
During a juvenile court hearing, the judge will ask how the child pleads to the allegations. And an admission a guilt will usually warrant an order for your child to complete a rehabilitation program. Treatment may include community service, residential treatment at a group home or receiving mental health services.
When a child denies they’ve committed any wrongdoing, another court hearing will take place. You may opt for your child to have legal representation to help build a defense for the trial. If the judge believes the allegations are false after the trial, they’ll likely dismiss the case. If not, they will order a second hearing.
During the second hearing, a judge will determine the nature of the actions your child took that led them to court in the first place. Oftentimes, when a judge perceives a child as a danger to others, they’ll assign the minor a period of probation. However, serious offenses may send your child behind bars.
The court system doesn’t take crimes where a minor severely hurts or kills someone lightly. And in these cases, it’s possible that the court will treat the minor like an adult. To help protect your child from making mistakes they can’t reverse, but have learned from, it’s important to team up with an experienced attorney.