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FAQ: Juvenile Defense

Juvenile Defense Questions And Answers

If I am arrested as a juvenile, can I still go to jail?

Yes. The fact that one commits a criminal act is presented to the juvenile court can and, in many cases, does result in juvenile detention, depending upon the nature of the offense and the criminal history of the individual.

Is my child obligated to speak to the police if they contact us and make such a request?

Absolutely not. Once the police contact you, it is critical that you contact an attorney and be certain that your child is not subjected to police interrogation.

Will my child’s name appear in the press if he is arrested?

No. A juvenile (i.e., a youth under the age of 16 who is arrested) is not subjected to public disclosure in the media.

Can a juvenile arrest result in a criminal record for my child?

Yes, particularly, with serious offenses. The juvenile prosecutor has the authority to petition the juvenile court to remove the case to the adult docket. A conviction in the adult court will result in a criminal conviction.

Can my child be arrested for illegal activity that occurs on school grounds?

Yes. Not only does the school have the right to take disciplinary action against your child in this case, but in Connecticut by law, the school is obligated to notify the police which almost certainly results in an arrest.

Can my child be disciplined at school for criminal activity that does not occur on school grounds?

Ironically, yes. Recent Supreme Court precedent indicates that a youth can be suspended and/or expelled from school for any activity that can be deemed to be disruptive to the education process. Arrests or criminal behavior occurring off school grounds have been deemed disruptive to the education process.

Do I really need a lawyer for a juvenile case?

Any time any person, particularly a youth, is a target of a criminal investigation or is in fact arrested, it is critical that experienced legal counsel be obtained.

If I retain an attorney for my child, who does the attorney represent, me or my child?

It is common for the parents of a youth in trouble to contact the attorney and pay the attorney’s fee. Notwithstanding this fact, the attorney’s obligation is to his or her client, in this case, the child. Input from parents is welcome, but all ethical obligations run to the child.

Can my child’s juvenile court record be disclosed to the public?

Absent a court order, the answer is no. Even with a court order, this disclosure is generally not provided to the public at large but is instead limited to any victim of a criminal offense, usually for the purpose of permitting the victims to pursue a civil remedy for money damages.

What does it cost to retain an attorney in this area?

Each case and individual is unique. A multitude of factors including, but not limited to, the nature of the offense, charges levied, criminal history, and the age of the youth are all factored into this decision, and fees are set on a case-by-case basis.