Things Parents Need to Know About the Juvenile Justice System

Posted by ortegalaw on May 6th, 2019

Children and teens today are inundated with all sorts of temptations that can lead them astray of the law. Through it all, parents are expected to be there for them and to look out for their wellbeing, but often there are things they do not realize about the justice system. If your child is experiencing legal problems, there are several things you need to know before you have any conversations with a juvenile defense lawyer in Anne Arundel County.

You Are Not the Client

Most parents do not realize that even if they are paying the legal bills, the client in the case of their child, is the child. As such, there are issues and discussions about your child’s case that the lawyer who represents your child cannot discuss with you legally. That comes as a shock to many parents who work under the assumption that they are the client because they are paying the bill. In reality, they are separate from the case and really only serve as a source of payment, as it pertains to their child’s legal issues.

Juvenile Diversion Programs are an Option in Many Cases

In most cases involving a juvenile, there are diversionary programs that a child can be enrolled in that while not avoiding prosecution for some crimes, can delay it. It obviously depends on what your child is accused of, but most diversionary programs are presented instead of incarceration. Many are multiple week programs and require the juvenile stay in program facilities for their treatment. In some cases, the reduction in recidivism is close to 90% (takechargeprogram.org)

Privilege Does not Extend to Parents

Most parents assume that their communications with a child pertaining to their legal status, ongoing investigations or prosecutions fall underprivileged communications. That means anything the child says related to the crime they are accused of is protected from prosecutorial or judicial scrutiny. Case law does not back up this assertion.

In fact, many courts have held that no privilege exists legally between a parent and a child. This reality should significantly affect the communications you have with your child pertaining to their case. It is also worth noting that if you discuss communications you had with your child with their defense attorney and do not retain them as your counsel, you have not have an attorney-client privilege.

Mental Health Screenings

Many parents do not realize that while incarcerated, their children can be screened for mental and emotional health issues. This can affect a lot about that child and how their case progresses through the system.

These are just some of the basic facts about the juvenile justice system that many parents are not aware of. If you want more information on any of these topics or other information on the justice system, talk with your juvenile defense lawyer in Anne Arundel County today.

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