When your child is in trouble with the law important decisions about your child’s freedom and future often need to be made in the first hours and days following the incident. Law enforcement officials have considerable discretion in what to do with an alleged juvenile offender before a child even reaches the preliminary hearing stage of a case. The actions that you, your child, and your child’s Fairfax juvenile criminal defense lawyer take can affect the decisions of law enforcement personnel. Thus, it is important to know about the options available so that you can advocate effectively.
What Happens Once the Police are Notified of an Alleged Juvenile Crime
You should expect the following to occur as soon as your child has been accused of a juvenile crime in Virginia:
- If the child enters the system through police contact then the police decide whether to arrest or to counsel and release the child.
- If the child enters the system via a complaint to the police then the complaint is given to an intake officer at the court who can decide whether to take no action, to take informal action such as recommending counseling or other services, or to file a petition.
- If a petition is filed, the intake officer will decide if the child should be detained or released to his or her parents or legal guardians.
- If a decision is made to detain the child, then a detention hearing must be held within 72 hours.
All of this occurs quickly, so it is important to act fast if your child is in trouble.
You and a Fairfax Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney May Help Your Child
Your actions can help shorten the legal process and affect the outcome for your child. Call a Northern Virginia juvenile defense lawyer today to learn more.