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Knoxville, TN juvenile criminal defense lawyerYour teen told you they were out with friends—perhaps friends that you have met dozens of times and you know their parents. Then, you get a phone call. At first, you think it is a joke or a prank, but the realization sets in that your child has been arrested for shoplifting. The authorities are letting you take them home for now. What does that mean? The questions begin spinning through your mind, from how you will handle the situation as a parent to how this affects college options and the future. The good news is that you are not alone; we are here to help.

Why Was My Child Released to Me?

Many juvenile shoplifting situations do not result in the young person being taken to jail. Instead, the police will often release the suspect to the custody of his or her parents after taking a report from the management at the store where the incident allegedly occurred. In the days and weeks that follow, you will receive further information about the case in the mail, including the dates and times of required court appearances. Your child must show up for these, and it is your responsibility to ensure that they do so.  Failure to appear will result in a warrant being put out for your child’s arrest and potentially other charges. You can assist your child by watching the mailbox and following up with the court.

What Else Can I Do to Help My Child?

It is common for parents to fluctuate between wanting to hold their children accountable for their bad decisions and wanting to protect them from the criminal consequences. A few helpful tips for parents wanting to achieve the best possible outcome in this awkward situation include:

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Knoxville, TN criminal defense lawyerIt is important for every American to understand their rights and responsibilities under state and federal law. One of the most important rights we have is the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Many criminal charges result from police searches. If you or a loved one are facing charges for drug possession or any other criminal offense after a vehicle search, contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer for help.

Know the Law Regarding Vehicle Searches

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unjustified searches of personal property. However, it can be hard to know when a search is justified. The law also applies differently to vehicles than it does to homes or other types of personal property. Police usually need a search warrant to search your home, but vehicles are exempt from the search warrant requirement.

Generally, police have the right to search your car, truck, van, or other vehicle under the following circumstances:

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Knoxville, TN criminal defense lawyerThe principle of “innocent until proven guilty” is a cornerstone of the American justice system. This principle holds that all criminal defendants are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law. This presumption of innocence is protected by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. The right to due process is also guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. This means that all individuals have the right to a fair trial, with all of the protections afforded to them by the Constitution.

The Basics of the Presumption of Innocence

The principle of innocent until proven guilty is important because it protects the rights of all individuals. This principle ensures that all individuals are treated fairly and that they have the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law. This right is essential to ensuring that innocent people are not convicted of crimes they did not commit. In our criminal system, a defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt—a fairly high burden of proof. The presumption of innocence is also important because it helps to ensure that innocent people are not unfairly punished. 

The Importance of Due Process

The right to due process is also important because it helps to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly. This right guarantees that all individuals have the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law. This right is essential to ensuring that innocent people are not convicted of crimes they did not commit.

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Knox County criminal defense lawyerMost people are familiar with the Miranda warning based on what they see on television shows and movies – a person is arrested and police must read them their Miranda rights or else the court will dismiss those charges, often with a lecture by the judge for not “doing their job correctly.” But that is not how real life works. The following is a brief overview of how the Miranda warning actually applies. For more detailed information about your particular case, contact Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney.

What Is the Miranda Warning and Miranda Rights?

The Miranda warning and Miranda rights were the result of a 1966 United States Supreme Court decision in Miranda v. Arizona. In this case, the court ruled that police are required to inform a person who is in custody of their rights when they are being questioned by a law enforcement officer. This is referred to as a “custodial interrogation.”

These rights include:

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Knoxville criminal defense lawyerEvery state has its own criminal justice system. The federal government also has its own criminal justice system. Depending on the circumstances, the defendant will face either state or federal prosecution, however, in some cases, they may be facing charges in both systems.

Federal vs. State Charges

Typically, the length of time it takes for a federal case to conclude takes longer than it does for state prosecutors to bring their cases to trial or other conclusions. It is not uncommon for federal prosecutors to request delays, resulting in the defendant being in limbo and unable to move forward with their life because of these serious criminal charges hanging over their head.

Another benefit that federal prosecutors have over state prosecutors is that they often have more staff and other resources to put into their cases compared to their state counterparts. Local prosecutors are often working within limited budgets and are often juggling multiple cases at a time.

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