Grandparents in today’s world are often intimately involved in the lives of their grandchildren. One call that grandparents hope to never get from a grandchild, however, is the dreaded late-night call from jail saying they have been arrested. You will likely be shocked, confused, and scared for what might happen to your beloved grandchild. If you are not familiar with the Utah juvenile justice system, you may not know what to do next. Below, the experienced Salt Lake City juvenile defense attorneys at Overson & Bugden walk you through the juvenile justice system in Utah and what steps you can take to help your grandchild’s case reach a positive resolution.
Paying for a Juvenile Defense Attorney for Your Grandchild in Salt Lake City
The first and most important thing you can do to help your grandchild through the juvenile justice system is to ensure they are represented by an experienced attorney. If you are unfamiliar with the process, however, you may be unsure whether or not you are permitted to pay for an attorney on your grandchild’s behalf. In Utah, you are permitted to hire a criminal defense attorney for another person charged with a crime. However, the fact that you are paying for the attorney does not mean that you will be entitled to know what is being discussed between your grandchild and their attorney. This information remains protected under the attorney-client privilege.
Can I Bail My Grandchild Out of Jail in Salt Lake City?
Perhaps your most pressing concern after finding out that your grandchild has been arrested will be getting them out of the detention facility and back home with you or their parents or legal guardians. You may be concerned with procuring the money to “bail them out.” However, in juvenile cases, there is usually no bail set. The large majority of the time, the intake office will see fit to release the juvenile to the custody of their guardian with a summons to appear in court or for a preliminary inquiry on a certain date.
Certain serious crimes, such as arson, are considered “holdable offenses.” If a minor has been charged with such an offense, the juvenile intake officer can choose to place the child in a juvenile detention facility if the officer considers the minor a danger to themselves or others. There is always a hearing before a judge within 48 hours if the intake officer commits the child to detention. At this hearing, an experienced juvenile defense attorney like those at Overson & Bugden can make the case to the judge that your grandchild is not a danger and should be released to their parents or guardians while the underlying matter is resolved.
For certain especially serious felony charges, the judge can choose to send your grandchild’s case to the adult court system. If this occurs, your grandchild will be entitled to a bail hearing just like in any other adult case. If your grandchild is arrested out of state or has a history of not appearing on scheduled court dates, bail may be set to ensure the minor appears in court as required.
Non-Judicial Remedies in the Salt Lake City Juvenile Justice System
As mentioned earlier, the stated goal of the Utah juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, rather than punishment, of minors accused of crimes. In line with this goal, the first step in the process when a minor has been arrested is typically what is known as a preliminary inquiry. The preliminary inquiry is essentially a long interview and assessment of the child conducted by a juvenile court official. After this inquiry, the official who conducted the interview can recommend non-judicial remedies if they see fit. These remedies might include writing a letter of apology, drug or alcohol treatment, community service, paying restitution to victims, seeing a therapist, or probation.
An experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney can help prep your grandchild for their interview. At Overson Law PLLC, our attorneys know what kind of questions your grandchild will be asked and what types of responses the official will be looking for in order to consider your grandchild a candidate for non-judicial remedies. We can prepare your grandchild and give them the greatest possibility for success.
Salt Lake City Juvenile Court
If the inquiry official does not believe that a non-judicial remedy is appropriate for your grandchild, the case will proceed in the juvenile court system. Unlike adult court, juvenile court is entirely confidential, and the hearings and trials are not open to the public. Also unlike adult court, there is no right to a jury trial in a juvenile court case. All cases will be tried before and decided by a single juvenile court judge.
It is very important that your child is represented by a qualified juvenile defense attorney who knows how to navigate the court system. Our attorneys at Overson & Bugden will first attempt to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor. The charges may be downgraded, or your grandchild may be permitted to enter into a pre-trial diversion program. If no deal to your satisfaction can be reached, we are prepared to mount an aggressive defense for your grandchild at trial.
Note that a finding of guilty by the judge in juvenile court is referred to as the charge being “adjudicated true” and a finding of not guilty is referred to as the charge being “adjudicated untrue.” If the charges are adjudicated true, your grandchild can face harsh penalties, including time in the juvenile detention facility.
Call Our Experienced Salt Lake City Juvenile Defense Attorneys If Your Grandchild Has Been Arrested
It is important that you not panic when you receive a distressing phone call from a grandchild who has been arrested. The quicker and more decisively you act to ensure your grandchild is represented by competent counsel, the more likely their case will reach a positive conclusion. At Overson Law PLLC, our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys have years of experience successfully defending juvenile clients against charges of all types. If your grandchild has been arrested, call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.