What Should I Do if My Child is Arrested?

Juveniles have unique opportunities available to resolve a crime that are not available to adults. They also face unique consequences.

1. Call a Minneapolis juvenile law attorney.

We all know the phrase: “You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used against you in Court.  You have the right to an attorney.  If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.”  Everyone, including juveniles, should firmly exercise these rights.  Any arrest or questioning should never be taken lightly or attempted without the advice of an attorney.  Police are skilled interrogators.  Their goal is to find the truth, but the truth is not meant to help the juvenile.  The truth is used to solve the crime.  Statements, even ones made with good intentions, will be used.  It is very difficult to erase a statement, once given.  Immediate representation will have lasting benefits.

Working with an attorney experienced in Minnesota juvenile law is extremely valuable.  Juveniles have unique opportunities available to resolve a crime that are not available to adults.  They also face unique consequences.  In many cases, the goal of the juvenile court is rehabilitations and education, rather than punishment.  However, a juvenile may be subject to harsh consequences, including: fines, probation, sex offender registration or placement in a juvenile correction facility.  Further, juvenile crimes have the potential to have lasting consequences, contrary to common belief.  They can affect employment, college, financial aid, and driving privileges.

An experienced attorney can advocate for results that allow a child to learn a lesson, but not face permanent consequences.  This includes placement in a rehabilitative program, rather than a juvenile correction facility; less restrictive sanctions such as community service; or dismissal of the case after a probationary period.   

2. Take the matter seriously and gather information that demonstrates the positive side of your child.

Once you have hired an attorney, she will ask for information related to the child’s social history, and she will ask what consequences have been given by the parents.  It is important to gather information about your minor child that illustrates his or her positive achievements.  Report cards can be used to show academic success.  Letters of reference from individuals, such as teachers, religious leaders, employers, and neighbors, can also be used as evidence of your child’s good character.  Enrollment in sports, volunteer work, and employment all speak positively to a child’s character.  Consequences at home can be extremely persuasive for more lenient sentences.  Parents who recognize an issue and act appropriately are helping their child.  In a recent case, the prosecutor agreed to a lesser sentence because the parents grounded the child for an extensive period, took the child’s cell phone, and administered random UAs (urine analysis).  Your lawyer is in the best position to advise you on these and other matters related to your child’s case. 

The Minneapolis juvenile attorneys at Mundahl law have nearly 25 years of combined experience working exclusively in the areas of family law and juvenile law.  Visit our web page at www.mundahllaw.com to learn more about the qualifications of our attorneys and the ways in which they can help your child get a fresh start and minimize the consequences that he or she will have to face later in life.

AUTHOR; Maple Grove, MN Juvenile Law Attorney Lucas JM Dawson

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