RETAIN AN EXPERIENCED JUVENILE DEFENSE LAWYER IMMEDIATELY
It sounds pretty obvious, but you would be surpised how many times parents were misled by police officers. "Don't worry you don't need a lawyer. We just want to talk to your child. He needs to be honest and be truthful and tell us everything he did."
The truth of the matter is that anything your child says can and will be used against him in the juvenile court proceedings.
SHOULD MY CHILD TALK TO THE POLICE?
In general, your child should not speak to the police.
You should unerstand that the prosecution have to prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. When you allow your child to speak to the police, the prosecution is able to corroborate the allegations leading to criminal charges being filed against your child.
Worse yet, police have been known to get innocent children to admit to crimes they did not commit. And based on this false evidence, prosecutors have been known to convict and incarcerate innocent people.
You should also know that often times the interrogation room at the police station have hidden cameras and hidden tape recorders. Even if you are allowed to sit in during the interview, when there is a difficulty getting the child to admit to a crime, the police will often purposely take a break to let the parent and child in the room alone while their communications are secretly video taped.
When police do not want a parent present, the police will often go to the school where your child is attending to do the interrogation to prevent you from properly advising your child about his or her constitutional rights. Once a child is at the station, the child is often interrogated a second time, this time by the assigned detective of the case.
Detectives often tell the child they already have a lot of evidence against them and if they cooperate, it will look favorably for them and that this would be written in the police report.
Children are also told by the police to write a written apology letter. Police often mislead juvenile defendants into believing this will help their case.
Nothing is farther from the truth. In fact, these so called "apology letters" are generally never given to the victims but rather used as "admissions" against the child to help get the child convicted of the alleged crimes. More often that not, these written statements are sent directly to the district attorneys office as part of the police report to show the district attorney that juvenile defendant has admitted the offense and should therefore be prosecuted for the alleged crimes.
CAN A PUBLIC DEFENDER HELP ME WHILE MY CHILDS CASE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION?
No. In most counties in California, a public defender is appointed by the judge during the initial court date after charges have already been filed. The public defender is therefore not there to help your child during the prefiling stage while the case is being investigated by the police and charges are being considered.
This prefiling stage is one of the most critical stages of the case.
Getting an experienced juvenile defense lawyer early on can sometimes lead to the case being dismissed, rejected for filing or resolved informally.
WHAT BENEFIT IS THERE IN HIRING AN EXPERIENCED JUVENILE DEFENSE LAWYER BEFORE GOING TO COURT?
Preparation is key to successfully defending a child. Getting a head start on defending your child, gives your juvenile defense lawyer the opportunity to get a good grasp of the childs social history, the childs version of facts, as well as mapping out a strategy for the initial detention hearing as well as future court dates to help get your child released.
By retaining a juvenile defense lawyer prior to going to court, you a give your child's defense a window of opportunity to accomplish the following:
Contact probation officer and D.A before the juvenile petition
Try to convince probation not to request that the petition be filed.
Request minors release.
Request that probation informally supervise your child without
a petition filed.
Suggest to probation a rehabilitation program to help
Convince the D.A not to file charges.
Convince the D.A to allow the case to be handled informally without going to court.
8) Convice the D.A. to file lesser charges.
9) Convince the D.A. the case does not merit incarceration.
10) Fight to have your child acquitted of all charges at trial.
WHAT DOCUMENTS SHOULD I TRY TO GET TO HELP MY CHILD?
1. Positive achievements: You should gather all documented
positive achievements by your child certificate of achievement, certificates,
2. Report Cards. Bring your child's report card.
The better the grades the better the impression for the court. Probation
will ask you for these documents whether you volunteer them or not.
3. Reference letters. Some juvenile judges will want to know
whether anyone can vouch for your child's character. These letters
from teachers, church, employers and neighbors are helpful, and give
a balanced viewpoint of your child.
However, please do not write any letters to the judge or submit any documents to the judge without consulting with your childs defense lawyer. Your lawyer is in the best position to know whether it is appropriate to do so.
SHOULD I TELL MY LAWYER THAT MY CHILD HAS A LEARNING DISABILITY OR A MENTAL ILLNESS?
If you child has a learning disability or you suspect that your child may have a learning disability or a mental illness, make sure you bring this to the attention of your defense lawyer. This information may be very important in determining the most appropriate resolution for the case.
SHOULD I TELL MY LAWYER I KNOW OF WITNESSES THAT ARE FAVORABLE TO MY CHILDS DEFENSE?
If you have information that is helpful to your childs defense, make sure you immediately inform your childs juvenile defense lawyer. Most police reports are one sided and police often omit crucial information that is favorable to the defense. If you know of witnesses that may be helpful, provide this information to your childs defense lawyer so that these witnesses can be promptly interviewed or possibly called as witnesses should the case go to trial.
SHOULD I TELL MY LAWYER THAT I THINK I HAVE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT MY CHILDS CASE?
Parents know a lot about their child. If you have information that could be helpful to your child's defense, make sure you inform the juvenile defense lawyer immediately.
WHEN I VISIT MY CHILD, WHAT SHOULD I ADVISE HIM OR HER TO DO?
You should immediately advise the child not to make any statements to the police or the probation department concerning the alleged facts of the case. These statements can be used against your child in a juvenile court proceeding.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A JUVENILE DEFENSE LAWYER?
The most important criteria when choosing a juvenile defense lawyer is the level of experience they have in defending children. Has the law firm established itself as one of the premier juvenile defense firms in California?
Make no mistake. You need the very best juvenile defense law firm to defend your child.
Too many criminal defense lawyers say they handle everything from A thru Z. Juvenile Defense is a specialized field. Those who defend children on a daily basis have a distinct advantage over a criminal defense lawyer that primarily handles adult cases and does a few juvenile cases on the side.
Never choose a juvenile defense lawyer based on price. In this profession, the saying "you get what you pay for" is very true.
CAN I HIRE JUVENILE DEFENSE LAWYER GEORGE KITA TO REPRESENT MY CHILD?
Yes. Call our office immediately. We can help you today. Our winning track record shows that we provide effective legal representation for children. Call us today at (626) 975-2080. Your childs freedom and future may depend on what you do today.