The juvenile criminal justice system is slightly different from that of the adult criminal justice system. For children, the emphasis is more on rehabilitation than punishment. This is why, in some cases, a child may not even face formal criminal charges after getting arrested. Here are four examples of such cases:
The Child Is Very Young
In most cases, courts rarely try juvenile offenders who are extremely young. For example, if your child is six-years-old, the issue is likely to be dealt with outside the official channels. Depending on the severity of the crime and its consequences, the court may just warn you (as the parents) or require you to pay restitution to the victims of the crime.
The Child Is Contrite
Your child's attitude goes a long way in determining whether your child's alleged offense is handled off the record or not. If the child is belligerent, unapologetic and generally combative, then they are probably looking at formal charges. However, if the child is contrite and is promising not to repeat the same mistake, then they are likely to escape formal charges.
The Child Has a Clean Record
There are only so many times prosecutors or juvenile court officers can handle your child's transgressions off the record. Your child is likely to face formal charges if they have benefited from off-the-record solutions in the past. Maybe they have been warned, counseled or put on probation before, and all those haven't helped. In this case, the prosecution may believe that charging the child is the best route to take. However, if your child has a clean record, then they are less likely to face formal charges.
You Seem Capable Of Controlling the Child
It is not just the child's actions that determine whether or not they face formal charges; even your actions and bearing as parents play a role here. Generally, the authorities may release the child into your hands if they believe that you have the issue under control and are capable of dealing with the child. A simple observation of your interaction with the child can reveal whether this is the case. For example, if you can't get the child to get in the car, close the door or answer your questions, then it's possible that you may also fail in controlling their alleged criminal acts.
As you can see, a lot of these cased depend on both you and your child's actions. However, you cannot always predict the route the prosecutor will take so you should prepare for the worst by hiring a criminal lawyer for your child. Contact a law office like Law Offices Of Harry G Lasser for more information and assistance.