Know Your Child's Rights

If your child is arrested, it is important to know that he/she has rights!

Not all rights that adults have extend to children, “juveniles.” Some rights vary a little. Below is a comprehensive list of the rights that your child has:

1. The Right to Consult with an Attorney before being Interrogated by Police Officers:

Starting January 1, 2018, if a Minor is 15 years old or younger, they have a right to have their attorney with them while the officer questions them.  (SB 395) At Proper Defense we have an attorney available 24/7 to speak with your child in their time of need. It is imperative that your child understands their rights. Often times, adults will admit to illegal conduct in hopes that it will lessen the punishment, or even worse because they believe they are innocent. Unfortunately, law enforcement will use their words against them to corroborate facts and convict them. Now, imagine how it is for a child.

Children have learned through school and at home that it is always best to fess up. Sometimes children will admit to something they did not do to avoid further questioning. Adults, especially police officers, intimidate children.

For years, children have been interrogated without their parents or attorneys present, resulting in false confessions, which can have lifelong consequences.

In October 2017, Governor Brown signed SB 395, putting a stop to such interrogations. See Welfare and Institutions Code section 625.6, Right to Counsel Before Interrogation.

2. The Right to Remain Silent

Adults and children have the right to remain silent. This means no one can compel you to say anything that could be used against you in court. Children have the right to invoke this right, to tell officers that they do not want to answer questions and that they want to remain silent. Children are very susceptible to coercion by adults and are more likely to speak when asked a question. Manipulative techniques are used on children tog et them to agree with law enforcement. It is best for a child to remain silent until he or she has spoken with an attorney.

3. The Right to have an Attorney Represent him/her in Court

Beyond the right to counsel in juvenile court guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution and In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967), states often have state constitution or statutory provisions further expanding upon or delineating that right.

In California, youth in juvenile court have the right to counsel in status violation and delinquency proceedings. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 634.

Juveniles have a right to court-appointed counsel in appeals of proceedings under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 601 or 602. Cal. Rules of Ct., R. 8.403(a).

When appearing in court at the detention hearing, the youth must be informed of his or her right to counsel at every stage of the proceedings. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 633.

4. Right to a Detention Hearing- But not a Right to Bail

In California, after your child is arrested they can either be released to their parents or booked into custody, “detained.” Once your child is detained at juvenile hall, there will be a detention hearing to determine if the child remains detained for the duration of the case, or released. Generally, the detention hearing must occur as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours after the child is taken into custody, excluding non-judicial days, after the petition is filed. (If the juvenile is arrested for a case involving violence, the detention hearing must take place within 72 hours of the juvenile being arrested.)

The petition is the document filed by the district attorney’s office stating the alleged violations of laws. At the first hearing, the detention hearing, the court will consider various factors and determine whether the child will remain detained. In the adult court, an accused has the right to post bail, a specified amount of money, to be released from custody. A juvenile does not have that right.

This is why it is so important that you hire a skilled juvenile defense attorney to represent your child as soon as possible. At Proper Defense, our juvenile attorney knows what to do before the detention hearing to prepare a proper argument to get your child released.

Right to a Trial by a Judge, not a Jury:

In the United States of America, an adult has the right to have a public trial by a jury of their peers. However, this right is not granted to juveniles. A juvenile has a right to an adjudication (functions effectively like a trial: presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, etc.) that is heard by a judge. The judge makes the determination whether the allegations in the petition are true.

The child is not found guilty/ not guilty, but rather the allegations are true or not true.

A skilled attorney knows your child's rights

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