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What Parents and Children Need To Know About Juvenile Delinquency

What Parents and Children Need To Know About Juvenile Delinquency

Each and every day children are “detained”, namely arrested, for juvenile delinquency. In essence, juvenile delinquency is the same as a criminal arrest, except the minor is not deemed to be a person with a criminal charge because they are under age. However, juvenile detentions are a significant legal matter and anecdotal evidence Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates demonstrates parents and their children poorly understand their rights and standard ways to respond to a juvenile delinquency detention. This blog explores the law and what juveniles should know.

Generally, a juvenile delinquency detention is the same as the arrest for an adult crime except there are limits on how long this may be referenced on a juvenile-soon-to-be adult record and how long a juvenile may be detained in a jail-like facility.

However, with serious cases, such as murder, a juvenile may be “waived” into adult court, convicted under the adult criminal statute, and sent to adult prison for the same terms as adults. Thus, the advice of juvenile counsel is always prudent.

A juvenile history may impact adult life from obtaining a firearm to employment and the laws are in constant flux on these limits. To avoid testing the limits, a juvenile delinquency detention should be treated as an adult arrest. In other words, it may have life-long implications that should be fully explained by defense counsel before making any admission or statement.

Most importantly, juveniles have the same rights to counsel and to remain silent under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments as do adults. Thus, not matter how bad the situation may seem, conventional wisdom is clear and statistically right most of the time (and would be admitted by most prosecutors, judges, and attorneys); this is that a juvenile should invoke his right to counsel through his or her parents and remain silent.

Think not? Remember, it is lawful for police officers to misrepresents facts to obtain confessions; sometimes this even leads to false confessions that are difficult to challenge later. This pressure or custodial interrogation techniques apply to juveniles. An attorney and silence except as dictated by skilled defense counsel are prudent.

For these reasons, a parent and/or juvenile, as the law allows, should treat a juvenile detention as a criminal arrest and charge and obtain counsel, remain silent, and not consent to any search or seizure. This may seem harsh, but police officers’ jobs in some respect are to get the bad guy and protect society. This is as it should be so long as the juvenile recognizes and utilizes his or her constitutional rights in balance.

This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who represent juvenile delinquents throughout the State of Indiana, as well as handle delinquency appeals. This blog post is written for general educational purposes. It is not a solicitation for legal services or specific legal advice. It is advertising material.


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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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