Yes. A juvenile delinquency investigation is effectively a criminal investigation. If your child has an inquiry made by the police, you need to know his or her rights to be a parent and the consequences of this type of case to minimize the impact of such an investigation and give your child the constitutional protections available to them. The serious nature of a delinquency investigation is the purpose of this blog post, as anecdotal evidence suggests this is grossly misunderstood by parents.
You should know the job of the police and juvenile officers is to investigate potential crimes and, if they have probable cause, move forward like a criminal investigation. Parents and their children often operate under the false assumption there was some childish act and talking with the police and juvenile officer will resolve the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For this reason, it is always advisable for a child and his or her parents to talk with and retain counsel before entertaining any idea of making a statement to the police. Any statement can and will be used against your child as if it is a criminal case. And depending on the statement, the child may be detained (effectively jailed) and the case follows mostly a criminal path.
In addition, there is no right to a jury trial in a delinquency proceeding so a tool commonly available to a criminal defense attorney is not available to your child. Furthermore, depending on the nature of the crime and other factors, your child may be waived into adult court and tried as an adult. Thus, parents should treat juvenile matters with the same level of seriousness as a criminal investigation.
This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handles juvenile delinquency matters throughout the State of Indiana. This is not intended to provide legal advice or be a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.