If your son or daughter has been charged with an offense, he or she has the right to:
· Know what the charges are.
· Remain silent. No one can make him or her talk about the case.
· Have legal representation.
· Admit the charges
· Deny the charges and have an Evidentiary Hearing before a Judge. There is no right to a jury trial for juvenile charges.
· Face and cross examine witnesses.
· Present evidence in his or her own defense.
· Testify if he or she wishes; however he or she does not have to testify.
· Appeal the Judge’s decision.
How will this charge affect my child’s ability to go to college?
Most young people seeking to attend college rely on Federal Student Aid to assist in paying for tuition. In some circumstances a conviction for drug possession or drug distribution may prevent your child from receiving Federal Student Aid. Fortunately, convictions that have been dismissed, and that occurred before a young person reaches age 18 or before he or she started receiving Federal Student Aid, do not prevent your child from receiving Federal Student Aid. www.fafsa.ed.gov. However, these cases must be dismissed to prevent any difficulties with federal financial aid. Please call for a free consultation to discuss dismissal and of your child’s case with me.
How will this charge affect my child’s ability to get into the military?
The answer to this question varies depending on which branch of the Armed Forces your child seeks to enlist in. Generally, felony convictions make a person ineligible for military service. Also, persons who have any “significant” criminal history are ineligible for military service. The military does have a waiver process for applicants with criminal histories, but a waiver of ineligibility based on criminal history is not automatic. You should work closely with your recruiter and hire a good criminal attorney if your son or daughter is in this position.
Will a charge in Juvenile Court stay on my child’s record?
Not necessarily. There are ways that your child can keep a juvenile conviction off his or her record. First, if convicted, your attorney can negotiate an Informal Adjustment in your child’s case. Ultimately, this allows the judge to dismiss your child’s case upon the successful completion of his or her sentencing terms. If granted an informal adjustment dismissal, your child’s record will merely reflect that the crime has been dismissed.