What Happens When My Juvenile Child Gets Arrested?

It can be a scary phone call when you answer the phone and find out that your juvenile son or daughter has gotten into trouble. Some parents may get sad or even mad but likely one of the most common responses is confusion as to how this could happen and what happens next.

Q. What will happen if my child gets in trouble?

If your child gets in trouble, depending on the specific situation, the police officer may choose to:

  • Make a record of the arrest and let your child go home.
  • Send your child to an agency that will shelter, care for, or counsel your child.
  • Make your child come back to the police station. This is called being “cited back.”
  • Give you and your child a notice to appear. Read the notice and do what it says.
  • Put your child in juvenile hall, also known as “detention.” Your child can make at least 2 phone calls within 1 hour of being arrested. One call must be to a parent, guardian, relative, or boss. The other phone call must be to a lawyer.

Q. Does my child have rights?

Just as when an adult gets in trouble, a juvenile must be told his rights. These rights include:

  • The right to remain silent.
  • Anything your child says will be used against them in court.
  • The right to a lawyer.

Q. Can my child be tried as an adult?

There are certain crimes of the more serious and violent nature that may cause your child to be tried as an adult as opposed to a minor. These crimes would include:

  • Murder and attempted murder.
  • Setting fire to a building with people in it.
  • Robbery with a weapon.
  • Rape.
  • Kidnapping or carjacking.
  • Crimes with guns.
  • Drug crimes.
  • Escaping from a juvenile detention facility.

As a parent, you have rights too. The police officer must tell you as soon as your child is locked up. The officers must also tell you where your child is and what rights he or she has. Typically, as the parent or guardian of an arrested minor, you will not need your own attorney. Because you are responsible for your minor, you may have legal and financial responsibilities. Some of the financial responsibilities may be to pay fines or fees or restitution to any victims determined by the court.

In the event that your juvenile child gets into trouble, it may be in their best interest to get them legal representation. An experienced attorney such as David Knecht may help your child get through a tough situation. It is never a good experience to be in trouble but representation from a qualified attorney may help the process go more smoothly.