No parent wants to imagine their child will run into trouble with the law. If your son or daughter has been accused of a crime, you must be aware of your rights, what to expect and where you can receive helpful advice. Here is everything you need to know if your child is accused of a crime.
Seek Legal Advice
Every child has a legal right to a solicitor. In addition to contacting a solicitor directly to represent your child, you can also receive free legal advice from the Children’s Law Centre or Legal Services Agency within your area. Each service can provide information regarding your rights and the legal process.
Know Your Rights
The police are expected to follow a set of strict professional standards, especially when arresting children under the age of 18 years old. For instance, they must inform a child’s parent immediately if they have been placed under arrest. They also cannot interview the child until a parent is present, and they have no legal right to harm your child in any manner. The only way they can interview a child without your knowledge or consent is if the delay would cause harm to another person or result in a serious loss or damage to property. If you believe the police failed to follow their strict standards (including false imprisonment or assault), you have every right to take action against the police. If so, hire respected Police Complaints Solicitors to embark on legal action.
Court Cases Against a Child Under 10
The thought of your child attending court probably fills you with fear. If your son or daughter is under the age of 10, they cannot be charged with a criminal offence or taken to court in the UK. While a child under ten years old cannot be accused of a criminal offense, they could receive a local child curfew, which often lasts for 90 days and prevents them from being in a public place between 9pm to 6am. If they fail to adhere to the conditions, they may be given a child safety order, which can last between three to twelve months. This will require them to experience the supervision of the youth offending team. They can also be taken into care if they regularly break the law, or if a judge rules the parent as being responsible for the crime committed.
Court Cases Against Children 10 or Over
If your son or daughter is aged 10 or over, they will be treated the same way as a young person under 18, and their accused crime will be dealt with by the Youth Justice System. If they choose to charge your child with a crime, they may receive bail and can return home, or they might be forced to remain in custody before appearing in a youth court. If your son or daughter pleads guilty or is convicted, the youth court will sentence your child. The youth court can, however, refer the case to the crown court for a serious offence.