If your child has been accused of a crime, it can be a difficult time for everyone. Most families will be faced with tough questions regarding where the accused will be tried, and how to proceed. Most families will also be worried about the future of their child, regarding his or her future criminal record and what such a mark on the record could do for his or her future.
Following the arrest of a juvenile, he or she will first likely be taken in for questioning, and then be allowed, in most cases, to return home. A probation officer will then be in touch about the next steps, and both the custodial parent or parents and the accused will be required to meet with a probation officer to discuss possible outcomes of the situation.
It is the probation officer who will decide whether or not the child will be assigned to juvenile detention (juvenile hall) or whether he or she will be allowed to return home to await the trial. If your child is assigned to juvenile hall, he or she will have to remain there until the case is decided. This can often be several months, depending on the severity of the case and the complexity of the ruling. The probation officer will also determine the visitations rights of the parents while the child is in custody.
A Child’s Right to Legal Counsel
Just as any person accused of a crime, your child has the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to your family. As a parent, you do not need an attorney—the attorney appointed will represent your child, not you. A parent, however, is required to be present at the hearings for the child, according to a recent California state law. Though it is the child who is accused of the crime and not the parent, a parent may be required to undergo certain training or counseling after the case is decided.
If your child is 14 years old or older, he or she may be tried as an adult, depending on the severity of the crime. Working with an experienced attorney is especially essential if your child may be tried as an adult, as an attorney can help to mitigate the very serious consequences for your child. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney today.