No parent wants their child to end up on the wrong side of the law, but even normally good teens can end up in trouble. When this happens, they will need to go to court to have their case heard and a verdict issued. If you are the parent of such a teen, you are likely nervous. The following guide can help answer your questions:
What type of court will the teen go before?
This depends on the age of your child, the severity of the crime, and the laws within your state. Many minor crimes, such as vandalism, that did not result in physical harm to a person, go to a juvenile court if your teen is below the age of 18. In juvenile court, the charges are considered civil delinquency as opposed to the crime, and the charges don't usually remain on the open record once your child is 18 or finishes their sentence. More severe crimes, particularly those that result in bodily harm, may end up in criminal court and your teen may be tried as an adult.
How will juvenile court decide the case?
Juvenile court generally takes into account all aspects of your teen as well as the crime. For example, your child's age, past record, school records, and other contributing factors will be considered. If the crime is considered relatively minor and your child does well in school and has no prior record, the case may be dismissed or your child may have to perform minor restitution, like community service. On the other hand, if your child is a repeat offender or if the court deems they are in need of more severe punishment, they may need to spend time in a juvenile detention center or another program.
What role should the parent play?
Your role will be severely limited once charges are pressed. You can help your child by hiring a good juvenile law attorney, to begin with. They will be able to provide invaluable counsel. You should also tighten the restrictions at home, including curfew, so your child doesn't risk getting in more trouble. You may also need to prepare a statement to read by the judge to provide witness to your child's character. This is your chance to provide information on your child's character or recent behavior that only you as a parent would be privy to.
For more help, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Contact a law office like Jack Weatherill Law Offices for more information and assistance.