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It's a phone call no parent ever wants to get: a call from the police saying their child has been arrested. When your son or daughter is in jail, you need to know what to do so that one mistake doesn't have to follow them around for the rest of their lives.
Any sort of situation with the police can be scary, for both you and your child. Then the big question arrises – “What can I do to help my child?” Please use this as a resource for you, as you take the steps to protect your son or daughter, and call me, Erin Field, when you need a juvenile defense lawyer.
Basics for the Juvenile Court Process in Connecticut
If this is your first encounter, you may be wondering what the next steps are. Here are the things you need to know about the Juvenile Court Process:
Rights in Juvenile Arrest
Police have the right to detain a minor in relation to any criminal investigation. They can question them without a parent or attorney present.
Your child needs to know that they can – and should – exercise their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. However, police are skilled in their ability to obtain statements from people under investigation, and especially juveniles or young adults who may not entirely understand their rights or lack the confidence to assert them.
So, if you find out your child did talk to police after their arrest, make sure they do not give any further statements. Also, try to ensure that your child does not reveal any incriminating evidence when police are around. There will be an opportunity later for discussions with your child and the attorney you hire.
Sometimes an arrest comes days or even months after the alleged crime took place. If you are contacted about an arrest warrant, an attorney can advise your child on how to protect themselves by avoiding giving a potentially incriminating statement and on how to avoid a public arrest.
It's worth noting that there is no bail system for minors charged within the juvenile system. If your child remains in the custody of the juvenile detention center, a lawyer can fight for their release at the first court date.
Here are other rights your child has during this process:
- The right to legal counsel
- The right to notice of charges
- The right to have charges proven beyond a reasonable doubt
Also, juveniles are given privilege against self-incrimination. so that they are not forced to testify against themselves.
The Arrest Process in Connecticut
- parents are notified when their child is arrested
- the child will be held at the police station – the police cannot hold your child without you knowing about it.
- the police cannot interrogate your child – they need your permission. So if you say “no,” no formal interrogation can happen. I recommend that you tell your child not to talk to the police and that they are able to use their right to remain silent and do not have to answer a police officer's questions.
- When your child is being held by the police, you should go to the police station, and if possible bring a defense attorney with you.
- Your child will likely be released to your custody, unless it is a serious offense or a repeat offender.
Going to Court with Your Juvenile in Connecticut
After they are charged with an offense, your child will usually need to appear in court – Juvenile Court. Because your child was released to your custody during the arrest, you will be responsible for your child appearing at court at the correct time. Skipping a court date is not recommended.
In many cases, after the release into your custody, the court will have special conditions that will need to be met. A probation officer will be assigned to your child's case and will check up on him/her. Here are a few examples:
- Need to attend school regularly
- Have a specific curfew
- drug testing
- no drugs
- no alcohol
- no guns or firearms
Then, once you are at court, your lawyer, you, your child, and the judge will determine the punishment for the crime. Juvenile court is meant to help rehabilitate your child, whereas if they are attending adult court, the punishments are often more strict. A juvenile may be sent to adult court if they have a serious crime or if they are a repeat offender.
Common Connecticut Juvenile Crimes
Arrests of young people are common in the United States. In a single recent year, law enforcement agencies made over 856,000 arrests of persons under the age of 18, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The most common juvenile crimes are:
- Drug abuse
- Disorderly conduct
- Curfew violations
If you get a call from law enforcement saying your child has been arrested, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer can explain what your child's rights are, protect those rights, and give you an idea of what is happening and what likely will happen next.
How Can Field Law Help Me?
If your daughter or son has been arrested, please contact me, Erin Field. I am an experienced criminal defense attorney, and I represent people who are accused of crimes in Connecticut.
I know that if your child has been arrested, you may be confused, angry, and fearful for their safety. I'll be ready to help you understand the charges and the legal options available to your family. I will work aggressively to have charges against your child are reduced or dropped.
Contact my firm to schedule a free consultation with me right away. I have a 100% success rate for first-time offenders, and I'll be ready to seek the best outcome possible for your child.