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5 FAQs for Parents of Children Facing Juvenile Charges in Tennessee

 Posted on October 23,2020 in Criminal Defense

Anderson County criminal defense attorney juvenile crime

Finding out that your child has broken the law and is facing criminal charges for his or her mistake is a difficult pill for parents to swallow. You are likely feeling a combination of emotions—anger and disappointment in your child, concern for his or her future, as well as confusion regarding how the Tennessee court system works for minors. If your child is facing juvenile charges and this is your first time dealing with the Tennessee court system, you may be bursting with questions about how the legal process will work and where your child will end up afterward. It is always advisable to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the juvenile court system before taking any further action, but we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to inform you about the process moving forward.

  1. Is a juvenile hearing just like an adult trial? The short answer to this question is no. While the legal process will still occur in a courtroom in front of a judge and both juveniles and adults have the right to an attorney, juveniles have certain rights that adult offenders do not. For instance, juveniles have a level of confidentiality to their records that adults are not given. Alternatively, juveniles are not allowed a jury trial or the opportunity for bail. 

  2. Will my child be detained? Depending on the severity of the offense, juvenile offenders may or may not be detained. Tennessee has a statewide holdable list that specifically outlines which offenses warrant detainment. If the offense is not included on this list, the police may bring your child to the detention center while they contact you to pick him or her up. If your child is alleged to be “unruly,” he or she may be detained for 24 hours before being released.

  3. If my child is detained, what happens next? A detention hearing will be held for any juvenile who has been detained for his or her actions. A judge will decide whether or not the child should remain in custody or be released to you until the arraignment on the charges. The court will consider the following questions when making this decision: Is the child a danger to himself or herself? Is he or she a danger to the community? Will the child appear at the court when summoned?

  4. What about probation? A common consequence of juvenile charges is probation for a specific period of time. This means that your child will be under the supervision of a court counselor until the allotted time has passed. The probation officer will work to help your juvenile complete the requirements and come out on the other side.

  5. Is my child required to disclose his or her record when applying for a job? Moving forward with a criminal record is difficult, even for those who only faced charges as a minor. It is important to be honest when filling out job applications since all criminal records are public. However, if the question only asks about convictions, and your child was never convicted, then the juvenile record would not count. If the question asks about convictions and adjudications, you should disclose the truth. If you get his or her record expunged, the arrest and charges can be treated like they never happened.

Contact a Knoxville, TN Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer

As a parent, watching your child make mistakes is always a challenge. For some, a minor juvenile charge can be enough to scare them straight, while for others, it may be the start of a downward spiral. Whether this is your child’s first or fifth charge, it is important to provide dedicated legal counsel on his or her behalf. Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, believes that everyone should have a second chance, especially those who are under the age of 18. Attorney Coller strives to place his clients, and their parents, at ease by providing them with aggressive and dedicated legal representation. If your child is facing criminal charges, call our skilled Knox County criminal defense attorney at 865-281-1000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.


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