When Advocating for Your Child Without a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer
What follows are some tips for Colorado parents who find themselves in court where there child is charged with a Colorado juvenile crime and they do NOT have a Colorado Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer.Keep Organized
Put all of the papers that you receive in connection with your child’s case in one place (including letters, evaluations, lab results, billing or payment records, and any reports from the police, probation officers, court, lawyers, doctors, and mental health workers).Ask to Read and Request Copies of All Reports About Your Child and Your Child’s Case
You may not always be able get a copy of a report. Ask your child’s lawyer if you have questions about whether you are allowed to see a copy of a specific report.Write Everything Down
Write down information from meetings and telephone conversations with your child’s lawyer, probation officer, and other juvenile justice system staff. Include the time and date, who you spoke to (and their title), and future meetings or phone calls.Attend all Meetings and Court Hearings and Arrive on Time
Because of job and family obligations, attending every meeting can be very difficult. However, it is very important that you attend meetings about your child. If you know you will not be able to attend, call or write a letter in advance to explain why you cannot attend and that you want to be involved in your child’s case.Help Others to Understand Your Child
Write down information about your child that will help your child’s lawyer, probation officer, the judge, and other adults understand your child better. If your child has a disability, be sure to include information about the disability, how your child processes information, how your child reacts in certain situations, and what help or accommodations your child needs. See Appendix for a checklist of helpful information to include.Speak Up in Meetings to Share Information About Your Child’s Needs, Even if you Feel Uncomfortable or Intimidated
If juvenile justice system staff (for example, a probation officer) or your child’s lawyer will not listen to you, you can contact his or her supervisor. In court, you may have to ask your child’s lawyer to tell the judge that you would like to speak.Always be Respectful
No matter how strongly you feel about your child’s situation or the people working with your child, remain respectful when you speak in court or speak to
to probation staff or other people who are working with your child.Regarding Your Child’s Arrest in a Colorado Juvenile Criminal Case
A child typically becomes involved in the juvenile justice system in one of two ways:
Someone, such as a neighbor or school official complains to the police, or The child is arrested in the communityIf Your Child is Arrested
Do not allow the police to talk to your child if you are not present.
Police may ask you if it is okay if they talk to your child without you being there. They may even suggest that your child will be more comfortable if you are not there when your child is talking to the police.Try to see Your Child Immediately
If the police officers will not let you see your child, ask to speak with their supervisors. Also, if the police have kept you from talking to your child, make sure that you tell this to your child¡|s lawyer (as soon as your child has a lawyer).When you see Your Child, Tell Your Child not to Talk to the Police Without a Lawyer Present
Your child should not tell the police anything unless your child’s lawyer- if you have one – says it is okay, even if your child was not involved in any way.If Your Child has a Disability, Provide Information About Your Child’s Disability When you go to the Police Station:
- If your child has an IEP, bring it with you.
- Explain your child’s disability.
- Explain if the disability affects his or her understanding of the charge.
- Tell the police if the disability affects your child¡|s ability to understand and answer questions appropriately.
- Be careful before you call law enforcement for help in dealing with your child’s behavior problems. You may be very frustrated with your child. You may be worried about his or her behavior and hopeful that the juvenile justice system can provide the help and services he or she needs to be successful. People may have told you that the only way for you to get your child help is through the juvenile justice system. But be careful before you involve law enforcement. Juvenile records can be lasting. The system can be helpful, but it can also do more harm than good.
Children should know that police are there to protect them and keep them safe.
They should be taught that if they are ever in danger or need help, they should go to the police.
At the same time, you should talk to your child about what to do if they get into trouble and the police want to talk to them.
If your child is arrested or brought in for questioning, teach your child never talk to police without a lawyer there.
Tell your child to immediately ask to talk to you (their parent) and a lawyer Even if your child is not involved in any wrongdoing, it is important to make sure that his or her rights are protected. Children and teens are especially likely to give into pressure from peers or the police. They may end up admitting something that they did not do.Practice Appropriate Responses
Make sure that your child understands what to say to police, and that he or she should be polite.
Teach your child not to run away from a police officer, make up a story, or argue with a police officer, even if the officer says something that sounds wrong or unfair.The Importance of Your Child’s Lawyer
If you can afford a lawyer or you obtain a public defender.
As soon as your child is arrested or detained, he or she has the right to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer is responsible for making sure that your child’s rights are protected and, if your child enters the system, that his or her needs are met. Your child’s lawyer works for your child, not for you or for the court. It is very important that your child is represented by a lawyer at all court proceedings, even if the police or probation officer tells you that your child will be facing only probation. Legal proceedings in juvenile court are serious. The consequences could follow your child for the rest of his or her life.