The Law Offices of Thomas Mueller Articles What to Expect If Your Child Has Been Charged with a Crime

What to Expect If Your Child Has Been Charged with a Crime

By Thomas F. Mueller  Jul. 25, 2011 4:01p

Perhaps one of the most emotionally stressful legal situations a parent may experience is when their child has been taken into custody for a criminal offense. Juvenile crime can be a tricky issue which requires a great deal of specialized knowledge and skill to make the right decisions when considering a matter concerning a minor. The state generally opts for rehabilitation rather than punishment but what is considered to be "rehabilitation" or "punishment" can be somewhat up for interpretation. For this reason, it is important to know what to expect if your child has been taken into police custody.

When a minor is apprehended by a law enforcement officer, that officer has a choice of letting him or her go with a warning or formally taking that child or teen into custody. The decision is based on the severity of the offense allegedly committed and any prior record of delinquent activity. Once taken into custody, the parents of the minor are contacted and, again, depending on the circumstances, the minor may be able to go home. Otherwise, he or she may be detained in a juvenile correctional facility or other appropriate location.

Will my child go to court?

An officer with the juvenile court will evaluate your child's case to determine the appropriate course of action. That officer may refer the matter to social services or juvenile court if a hearing is in order for the nature of the offense or for a repeat offender. If the case goes to court, a petition is filed detailing the circumstances and the violation that the minor is charged with.

A hearing is then held by a judge (no jury is involved) to determine if the evidence supports the charges. Charges for severe and violent crimes such as rape or murder are usually referred to the District Attorney's Office for possible trial as an adult.  Whether your child is given a hearing as a minor or tried as an adult it is absolutely crucial that you have the competent representation of a juvenile crimes attorney.

If the judge decides that your child is responsible for the violation stated in the petition, your child could be considered a delinquent and will face a second hearing to determine the next course of action. Your child may then be released to parental supervision under probation and may have to do many hours of community service and attend regular meetings with a social worker or in a non-residential disposition will be retained at a juvenile correction facility or work camp.

Protecting Families from the Impacts of the Juvenile Justice System

The the legal team at the Law Office of Thomas Mueller has represented families facing a variety of juvenile crimes cases. We are dedicated to getting the best outcome possible for our clients because we understand how a juvenile crime matter can impact your child's future. If you are currently looking for aggressive defense, we urge you to consult with an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney from our legal team as soon as possible.

Contact a San Jose juvenile crime lawyer from our firm right away to arrange an initial consultation.

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