Juvenile Charges: You and Your Child Both Have Rights
As a parent, one of the most difficult things to hear is that your child may have done something wrong. If your child is arrested or charged with a crime, it will be a stressful experience for the both of you, but one of the best things you can do is become informed about the rights that both you and your child have in this situation. Becoming informed will help both you and your child get through this process.
What Rights Does My Child Have?
In Illinois, anyone 17 years old or under is considered a child, although for very serious crimes, children over the age of 15 can be tried as an adult.There are a few differences between what rights your child has and what rights an adult has when they are charged with a crime.
- Probable cause is needed to search a minor – As with adults, police must have reason to believe a person has committed a crime before searching a minor, and these reasons must be supported by facts. The exception to this rule is if a parent or a person with partial responsibility of the child (such as a school official) has reasonable suspicion of an offense.
- Right to a phone call – If your child has been arrested, he or she has the right to make a phone call to call you or to directly contact an attorney. This is part of the Miranda Rights that also apply to adults.
- Right to remain silent – Also a part of the Miranda Rights, your child has the right to refuse to answer questions until you and/or their attorney is present. Your child does not have to say anything to the police, no matter what the police say.
- Right to a lawyer – Your child has the right to a defense lawyer. Your child should tell the police right away that they would like a lawyer present before they speak. If you cannot afford a lawyer, your child has the right to a state-appointed defense attorney.
- Right to talk to a parent or guardian – Your child has a right to talk to you before they talk to police. They also have the right to have you present during questioning and during all court proceedings.
- Right to notice of charges – Your child has the right to know what crimes he or she is being charged with. Police are required to explain what charges are being pursued and why they believe your child is guilty.
- Privilege against self-incrimination – The Fifth Amendment applies to your child the same as it does to an adult – they cannot be forced to testify against themselves.
- No right to bail – Unless a serious crime is committed, minors are often released from police custody to their parents or guardians prior to their arraignment in juvenile court. In the case that your child is held in police custody, they do not have the right to seek bail.
- Limited right to a trial by jury – States are not required to give juvenile cases a trial by jury. In the state of Illinois, juvenile cases do not receive a trial by jury unless the minor is judged to be a “violent” or “habitual” offender.
What Rights Do I Have?
- Right to be notified of arrest – Police must tell you as quickly as possible that your child has been arrested or is being held in custody.
- Right to notice of charges – Like your child, you have the right to be informed of what charges are being pursued against your child. You also have the right to know where your child is being held in police custody.
- Right to be present during questioning – You have the right to be with your child during police questioning and during all court proceedings.
- Right to a lawyer – In Illinois, you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning, even if your child does not choose to exercise his or her own independent right to do so.
Contact a Will County Juvenile Defense Attorney
If your child has been charged with a crime, you need an experienced Joliet juvenile defense lawyer at your side. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.