What will Flaherty Defense Firm do for my child in juvenile court?
Well first let me just say that I’m a parent myself, so I understand how stressful this must be seeing your child go through an arrest. You don’t want this to be on their record, but you also don’t want them to get off Scott-free and not learn any lessons from what they did. We work very hard to walk that fine line because the last thing we want to do is give your child the message that it’s OK to break the law as long as they have a good attorney. But we also don’t want them to have to pay for the rest of their life for a stupid mistake they made when they were a kid.
The first priority we have in a juvenile case is to keep it in juvenile court. Sometimes the prosecutors will try to send the case to adult court. We need to do everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen. Keeping the case in juvenile court keeps the charge off of their permanent criminal record and it preserves a lot of different options for having the charge expunged or dismissed without any lifelong ramifications, so that’s going to be our number one job.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to receive a letter from the juvenile probation department, and it’s going to request that you come in for what’s called an “intake assessment.” The purpose of the intake assessment is to make a recommendation on whether or not the child is a low, medium, or high risk of re-offending. One thing that we do that’s a little bit different than other attorneys is we go to the intake assessment meetings with our clients and their parents. I go to the intake assessment meetings with my clients because I want to be in the room in case an opportunity presents itself where I can add something or present something to the probation officer that might help them in making the decision to make a favorable recommendation.
After the intake assessment, the probation officer is going to meet with the juvenile prosecutor that’s assigned to the case, and that probation officer is going to make a recommendation on how the case should be handled. It could mean that the probation officer recommends that the case be referred to a diversion program. It could mean that they recommend that the charge be dismissed. It could mean that they recommend that the charge be sent to adult court. Either way, I want to do everything I can to influence that process and make the appropriate recommendations, again, to keep the case in juvenile court and to get the best recommendation possible.
After the probation officer and the prosecutor have a chance to meet, I’m going to follow up with the prosecutor to make sure that everyone’s on the same page about what the recommendation is. Then I have the opportunity to go back and talk to my client and the family to make sure that they agree with what the recommendation is going to be. Either way, we’re walking with you every step of this process from the pre-arrest phase, through the arrest, through the intake assessment, through the court appearances, and through final disposition in front of the juvenile court judge.
If your child has been arrested, give me a call and let me help.