If you’re like many parents whose children have gotten into a mix-up with the law, you need to call a juvenile defense lawyer now. Working with a juvenile defense attorney can help protect your child from violations of his or her rights – and help preserve your child’s future, too.
3 Reasons to Call a Juvenile Defense Lawyer Now
There are three reasons you should get in touch with a juvenile defense lawyer if your child has gotten into trouble:
- Kids’ brains aren’t developed enough to understand the full consequences of their actions, but they’re often tried as adults.
- Kids’ have the same rights as adults do under the U.S. Constitution and the Illinois Constitution, but those rights are always in danger of being violated by police and investigators.
- Parents have important rights, too, but many moms and dads aren’t aware of them.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
#1. Kids Are Often Tried as Adults
In many cases, kids under the age of 17 who are accused of misdemeanors or felonies are tried as juveniles – but sometimes they’re tried as adults, even though their brains aren’t fully developed and they can’t comprehend consequences in the same ways that adults can. Some kids as young as 15 can be charged as adults in many crimes, which means if they’re convicted, they could spend time facing adult consequences. While many people argue that juveniles should only be tried as juveniles, they’re often charged as adults.
Kids can be charged with a wide range of crimes, including:
- Drug crimes
- Guns and weapons charges
- Home invasion
- Property crimes
- Sex offenses
- Theft and retail theft
- Violent crimes
#2. Children Have the Same Rights Adults Have
The same protections you have under the U.S. Constitution and the Illinois Constitution extend to your child. That includes the right to remain silent and refuse questioning, as well as the right to have an attorney present during questioning.
Your child has the right to a public defender if you can’t afford an attorney.
After the police arrest a juvenile, the officer must take him or her to a police officer who’s trained in handling juvenile arrestees.
#3. Parents Often Don’t Know Their Rights
If a child is arrested, the police are supposed to make a reasonable attempt to contact a parent or legal guardian. Unfortunately, many kids (and parents) don’t know that.
Parents have the right to be with their children during questioning, as well as the right to know why the child was arrested or detained. Parents also have the right to find legal counsel for their children. It’s very important that you know your – and your child’s – rights. Your juvenile defense attorney can help explain them to you.
What to Do if Police Arrest Your Child
If the police arrest your child, don’t panic. Stay calm, go to the police station and demand (respectfully, of course – don’t make a scene or the police will be less than willing to work with you) to be with your child during questioning. On your way to the police station, call us at 847-920-4540 so we can meet you there.
The bottom line is that you need to stay calm and assert your constitutional rights – and your child’s rights. Tell your child not to say anything without talking to an attorney first, because investigators are trained to get people to admit to crimes (and that can include crimes that the person being questioned didn’t even commit).
Call us at 847-920-4540 right away if police have taken your child into custody. We may be able to help.