When your child faces arrest for juvenile delinquency accusations, you may be unsure of the next step to take. Many parents grapple with the events following their children's arrest as they rush to try and salvage the situation. You can avoid the intense confusion and panic by consulting a criminal defense attorney with experience handling juvenile delinquency matters. With their help, you will understand your rights as a parent with a detained child, giving you a chance to help out in the best way possible.
At Los Angeles Criminal Attorney, you have access to highly experienced and well-trained criminal defense lawyers who understand the juvenile delinquency system. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of parents whose children faced arrest understand their rights and entitlements throughout the child's trial process. Thanks to this, you can prevent unfair juvenile delinquency proceedings and outcomes for your child, giving them a better chance at reiterating to society.
Understanding Parental Rights in Juvenile Delinquency Cases
The law provides constitutional rights for different groups during a criminal or juvenile delinquency case. By extension, you, as a parent, will have certain rights to ensure you understand the nature of your child's case. Subsequently, you assume some of these rights under your status as the arrested minor's parent.
In other cases, you may have to wait on the juvenile delinquency judge to apply discretion in determining whether the rights apply entirely. If not, the judge will assess several circumstances that show whether you have satisfied the court of your entitlement as a parent to the rights.
Overall, working with a defense attorney is essential because they will guide you on all vital issues, allowing you to participate in your child's juvenile delinquency case. By understanding your parental rights, you also learn the limits beyond which you cannot control the case process. This distinction is crucial because it allows the legal team representing your child and the overall juvenile delinquency system to undertake their roles.
The various parental rights available after your child's arrest are:
The Right to Receive Notification About Your Child's Arrest
As your child’s primary caregiver, you have a right to learn of their whereabouts, including when they face arrest and detention. Hence, the arresting officers should liaise with the relevant department to retrieve information about your residence and contact lines for a quick briefing of your child’s arrest.
The officers should ensure that they inform you about the child’s arrest location and possible juvenile delinquency charges. Moreover, the officer should reveal your child's current detention location to help you plan various intervention actions as you await further directives.
Upon receiving a call from officers concerning your child’s arrest, confirm their details and location before taking further action. Doing so is beneficial because sometimes, information between one arrested child and the next may be very similar, causing unwarranted panic for you. Additionally, you can try contacting your child’s phone to confirm whether the events revealed involve your child.
A Right to Understand the Constitutional Rights Available for Your Child
While you have an entitlement to parental rights, you should also understand your child’s constitutional rights as an arrested and detained juvenile. Understanding their rights is beneficial because they will guide you when seeking legal redress on their behalf.
For example, you can ask your child whether the officers complied with constitutional guidelines when arresting them. If not, you will then determine whether to request an attorney to handle the case and seek redress.
The child’s primary constitutional rights are:
The Right to Learn About the Charges After Arrest
Minors have a right to understand the charges they face, just like any adult suspect facing arrest and detention. Providing the information before the arrest allows them to trace back to their actions and the prohibitive legal provisions that warranted their arrest.
By revealing the charges to the minor, they are more likely to cooperate with the arresting officer throughout the detention duration. Further, the information is helpful to the minor as they make contact with you or any other guardian. By understanding their charges, they can better convey the information accurately to you and trigger the onset of legal representation and guidance.
Arresting Officers Should Have Probable Cause Before Apprehending the Minor
Moreover, an arresting officer should form probable cause before arresting a minor to avoid making arbitrary arrests. Thus, an officer must disclose the probable cause of the minor’s arrest upon request and disclose the information to the minor as they apprehend them.
Failure to do so can attract extra scrutiny on the case and invoke suspicions of unfair arrest. For example, arresting a minor based on unverified word-of-mouth allegations is unjust to them, as proper investigations should precede any legal action from the officers.
Forming probable arrest involves finding the minor participating in an unlawful activity or using verified investigation reports to inform arrest. Without these details, you can invoke a complaint on your child’s behalf to review their arrest process.
The Right to Legal Representation
Furthermore, you should know that your child has the right to legal representation if their case proceeds to trial. Learning this right early is crucial because it allows you, as the parent, to find a reliable lawyer with experience in juvenile delinquency matters beforehand. Hence, the attorney will be ready to proceed with the case without unnecessary delays for your child’s benefit.
If you cannot retain a lawyer, the state should provide free legal representation for your child to promote a failed judicial process. The basis for this is that a minor may lack sufficient experience to represent themselves during the trial, as an adult would in the absence of an attorney. Leaving the minor to represent themselves will likely undermine the principle of a fair trial, so the state steps in to equalize the case representation.
The Right to Make a Phone Call
If you have not heard from your child since their arrest, you can raise the alarm on the issue and request the involved officers to allow your minor to exercise their rights. Since they have a right to make a phone call after arrest, you can use the allowed interaction to gather as much information as possible on the arrest and detention process to help prepare for the case.
To Have the Charges Proven Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Once the minor’s case proceeds to a juvenile delinquency hearing, you should know they have the right to a fair trial. Subsequently, the prosecutor presiding over their matter should ensure that they prove the minor’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before the juvenile delinquency judge issues any punitive orders.
Typically, proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt requires the prosecutor to provide evidence on all elements of the crime. The prosecution team must also make an effort to ensure that their legal arguments do not raise any doubt about the minor’s involvement in unlawful practices.
Since the standard to meet is high, it ensures that your child will only face juvenile delinquency court orders if the judge finds them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Your child’s attorney will ensure that the prosecutor meets the standard of proof for a fair legal process.
The Right to Cross-examine Witnesses During the Proceedings
Additionally, your child has a constitutional right to cross-examine any witnesses the prosecutor calls to provide evidence against them. Exercising this right further promotes a fair legal process that ensures both sides present their positions adequately.
Subsequently, your child can undertake the cross-examination process with an attorney’s guidance to ensure they capture critical inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case.
The Right to Work With a Defense Attorney on Your Child's Case
As discussed, your child has a constitutional right to legal representation throughout their case. Thus, you have a right to consult a legal attorney and work on your child’s case to prove their innocence.
The juvenile delinquency court should not limit you on the type of attorney to retain, provided they will give valuable input towards adequately building the minor’s defense case. Further, your chosen legal team should understand how the juvenile delinquency system works to guide them in requesting specific court orders.
The Right to Peruse Your Child's Court File
On top of learning about your child’s arrest and charge details, you have a right to peruse their court file and read the details yourself. Doing so may be necessary if you use the information to brief the attorney representing your child. Additionally, you may want to peruse the file for your understanding, which is also acceptable.
Although you have the right to access the court file, please note that other parties can exercise the right, depending on their capacity, in the ongoing case. For example, your child’s school officials have a legal right to pursue the court file and familiarize themselves with the contents. The details will likely guide them in determining whether to retain your child’s position in their school and whether the decision is best for other school-going children.
Similarly, a child protection agency representative, federal attorney, and law enforcement representatives also have the right to peruse the court file. Therefore, you do not have to take additional steps to make the file exclusive to you and the attorney working on the case because the request may fail.
A Right to Attend All Juvenile Court Proceedings
Further, you should have access to all juvenile court proceedings involving your minor’s case as the parent. The right extends to additional court procedures that require the minor’s attendance so that you can make the necessary arrangements. These include requesting the court’s schedule to keep track of upcoming court dates and receiving notifications in case of adjournments.
A court official should only prevent you from accessing the proceedings if your behavior disrupts the court or agitates the minor and prevents them from focusing on the issues in question. If so, you will receive guidelines on what to do concerning making follow-ups on your child’s case because the court may prevent parental access to the proceedings in exceptional circumstances.
A Right to Take Your Child Home Upon Meeting the Set Conditions
Finally, you have the parental right to take your child home after the necessary processing and first court arraignment procedures conclude. Doing so allows the minor to continue their education and everyday life, pending additional court directives. Returning home after an arrest is often beneficial for the child, as they do not have to adjust significantly to new life conditions, which may throw them off.
However, the right to take your child home is subject to some conditions that the juvenile delinquency judge will verify before authorizing the minor’s release. These considerations are necessary to ensure that releasing the child is in their best interests. Upon consideration, the judge may deny your right if:
Your Child Evaded Juvenile Court Attendance Orders
Anyone who faces arrest, including a minor, loses their liberty temporarily. Thus, following court orders is necessary to help them regain their freedom before the official trial begins. As a result, if your minor avoided a court attendance order, they are less likely to secure a release order.
The primary reason the judge denies the release request is that the minor’s behavior may indicate your shortcomings as a parent. Specifically, the judge may fault you for failing to follow up on your child’s legal process, meaning that releasing them may worsen the situation.
Alternatively, the presiding judge may deny a release order as a punitive measure, especially if the minor has missed several court attendance orders. Nevertheless, you can help justify the minor’s release by providing compelling reasons. For example, if they suffer from an acute medical condition, it would be best for them to remain at home to avoid medical complications.
The Minor Did Not Comply With a Juvenile Delinquency Court Order
Non-compliance with other court orders may also reduce the minor’s chances of exiting the detention center and returning home. For example, if the minor received an order to avoid being violent with other detainees or to begin a drug rehabilitation process, they should follow these guidelines until a court review comes up.
If the judge finds that the child has not complied with the issued directives, they may delay their release to allow more time for conformity. They will do this mainly when the processes are critical to the minor’s development and recovery to prevent recurrent criminal activity.
The Minor is a Flight Risk
A flight-risk detainee is any person likely to flee the country upon release, specifically to avoid the court’s jurisdiction in a criminal matter. The court may assess your child’s circumstances, classify them as a flight risk, and deny them a release order.
The juvenile delinquency judge is likely to do this if they receive information that you are planning travels outside the country within the criminal proceedings period with the child. To counter the suspicion, you can hand in your child’s travel documents to the juvenile delinquency court for safekeeping until the proceedings conclude.
Courts emphasize the minor’s presence throughout the proceedings to promote fair hearing standards. If the minor is absent, the court cannot proceed. Ultimately, this causes an impediment and delay to justice for the aggrieved parties and your child if they are innocent.
Detaining the Child is Best for Their Protection
Some cases involve serious accusations that may endanger your child if they return to the community. For example, the aggrieved parties may be keen on punishing your child in their ways if they leave the juvenile detention center, making it dangerous to authorize the minor’s release.
Alternatively, the minor may have been involved in gang activities before the arrest, meaning that other gang members may be looking for your child to harm them. This is especially common if your child has revealed information about other perpetrators, making them a target.
Moreover, if the conditions at home are not conducive to the minor’s well-being, the juvenile delinquency judge can deny their release. For example, if the child is exposed to drugs, abuse, sexual exploitation, or neglect, they may be better off in a state center for juveniles pending trial conclusion. Thus, they can receive the rehabilitation and protection they need.
Releasing the Minor May Endanger Someone Else
If your child’s release from detention poses a safety risk for a third party, the judge will also reconsider allowing their release. The decision has its basis in the overall need to maintain social order and safety, even if it denies some parties their rights.
Nevertheless, the judge will carefully consider the implications for the threatened party if the minor returns to the public and make a justified decision. Typically, they will deny a release if your child will return to interacting with their alleged victim every day, to the aggrieved party’s detriment.
For example, if the children are in the same school, and your child faces physical violence charges, they may negatively affect the victim’s mental and physical well-being. Thus, remaining in custody may be the best option until the case concludes.
Obligations to Meet as You Enforce Your Parental Rights
While the state provides for parental rights, it also requires you to take up some obligations tied to your child's ongoing case. The obligations require you to meet costs arising from the child's arrest and detention, especially if their charges require immediate apprehension by law enforcement officers.
Thus, learning your parental obligations in advance helps you make the necessary financial preparations, giving you a smoother time. Your child's attorney can work closely with the prosecutor and child officer handling your child's case to disclose the specific obligations you will take up.
Notably, not all obligations discussed below will require you to take them up. The compositions are on a case-to-case basis, and the juvenile delinquency court will issue directives accordingly. The primary parental obligations include:
- Paying restitution to the aggrieved parties
- Meeting medical, food, and clothing costs incurred during the minor's detention
- Meeting legal service costs
- Paying for necessary surveillance on your child
Notably, while the court imposes the legal obligations, they will be subject to your ability to meet them. For example, if you cannot afford to repay restitution, the juvenile delinquency judge may order you to make redress in other forms. Additionally, you may receive a payment plan option if you are willing to pay but can only meet some costs upfront.
When Parental Rights are Inaccessible
Although parental rights are necessary when following up on your child’s juvenile delinquency case, the court may deny them in specific circumstances. Consequently, your access to your child’s information becomes limited and calls for you to allow other actors to intervene on the child’s behalf.
Unless otherwise advised, two main circumstances cause you to lose your parental circumstances. They are:
- Your child is ready for adoption or has been adopted.
- A legal guardianship order over your child exists.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Learning that your child is in a detention center after an arrest can be alarming. The situation may be even more intense if you are unsure of the legal process to follow, particularly for juvenile delinquency cases. Therefore, you need a professional to guide you on your rights as a parent and to disclose information about your child's case. In doing so, they will have helped you understand the inner workings of the law to give you a better perspective of what to expect in a juvenile delinquency court.
At Los Angeles Criminal Attorney, we understand the importance of following up on your child's juvenile delinquency case and work to provide all the necessary information to you. Our team consists of skilled defense attorneys with experience handling juvenile delinquency cases. Thus, you can count on us to provide reliable directives on the rights and obligations imposed on you as a parent. Moreover, the team will help you prepare for your child's defense case ahead of trial. For more information on parental rights in juvenile delinquency cases, call us today at 424-333-0943.