Can a Parent Pay their Children’s Criminal Defense Lawyer in Salt Lake City?

No loving parent wants to receive that dreaded late-night phone call from the police that their child has been arrested. The mere thought of your child behind bars in a police station can be heartbreaking and horrifying all at once. It is vital, however, once you learn your child has been arrested, that you take quick and decisive action to ensure their rights are being respected. The swiftness with which you act in making sure your child is represented by competent Salt Lake City juvenile defense attorneys like the team at Overson & Bugden can be the difference in your child facing harsh penalties and your child being let off with a slap on the wrist. Below, our lawyers explain the juvenile justice system in Utah and what steps you can best take to guide your child through it.

Paying for a Juvenile Defense Attorney for Your Child in Salt Lake City

Parents who are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system may wonder whether they are permitted to pay for an attorney who will work on behalf of their child. The answer to this question is yes. You are permitted to pay for an attorney for any other person. However, this does not mean you are entitled to know what is being discussed between your child and the attorney. Even if you are paying for the attorney’s services, and even if this is your minor child, attorney-client privilege applies to any confidential communications between your child and their Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer.

How Does the Bail Process Work for Juveniles in Salt Lake City?

The juvenile justice system in Utah is an entirely separate entity that the adult criminal justice system, with its own rules and its own goals. The stated goals of the juvenile justice system in Utah are to rehabilitate the child and keep them from getting into further trouble in the future. This is a contrast with the adult justice system that is focused on punishing people for their transgressions.

In line with this goal, there is generally no bail offered for juveniles in Utah. The vast majority of the time, the child will be released to the custody of their parents while the underlying matter makes its way through the system. In certain extraordinary cases where a child has committed a “holdable offense,” such as armed robbery, and the juvenile intake unit believes that the safety of the child or the public is at risk, they may recommend that the child be kept in detention.

Any such decision by the intake unit must be reviewed by a judge at a detention hearing held within 48 hours of the child being placed in the juvenile detention unit. Having an experienced detention hearing attorney like those at Overson Law PLLC represent your child at this hearing will make it far more likely that the judge will decide to release the child to your care. We know the arguments that judges like to hear and how to craft a compelling advocacy for your child’s release.

Even if the judge decides the child must be held, no bail will be set, as the decision will be seen as being made in the best interests of the child’s rehabilitation. Bail is only set in juvenile court if the juvenile is from out of state or has a history of not showing up for scheduled court appearances. This is done to ensure compliance with court dates. In addition, for serious felonies such as murder, the judge may choose to transfer the case to adult court, in which the regular bail rules and procedures will apply.

The Juvenile Justice Process in Salt Lake City

The juvenile justice system attempts to keep children out of court if all possible. As such, the first step in this process is the holding of a preliminary inquiry by a juvenile court intake official. At this hearing, the intake official will ask your child questions about their background and the crime with which they are being charged and assess whether a non-judicial remedy can be used to resolve the case. Such non-judicial remedies include writing an apology letter, substance abuse treatment, community service, paying restitution, counseling, or probation.

At Overson Law PLLC, our attorneys have years of experience guiding minors through these assessments. We know what questions they will be asked and what answers the officials will be looking for. By having your child prepare with a skilled juvenile defense attorney before this hearing, you will increase their odds of avoiding court altogether and resolving the matter through an informal, non-judicial process.

If the matter cannot be resolved through the preliminary inquiry, your child will be arraigned before a juvenile court judge and the case will proceed in a similar manner to an adult trial, although all proceedings will be confidential. One major difference in juvenile court is that there is no right to a jury. A judge will hear evidence and witness testimony and decide the case on their own. If the judge feels the prosecutor has met their burden, the charge or charges will be “adjudicated true.” If not, the charge or charges will be “adjudicated untrue.”

Our Provo criminal defense attorneys know how to mount an aggressive defense to your child’s case if a trial is the only option. We can also work with the prosecutor to obtain a plea deal or entry into a pre-trial diversion program so that your child does not have to experience the trauma of a courtroom proceeding.

If Your Child Has Been Arrested, Call Our Experienced Salt Lake City Juvenile Defense Firm Today

Although the juvenile justice system in Utah is not supposed to be punitive, in reality, many of the consequences that children can face can seem like rather harsh punishments. No one wants to see their child spend time behind bars in a juvenile detention facility. Retaining a knowledgeable juvenile defense attorney like those at Overson & Bugden can dramatically improve your child’s odds of bringing their situation to a positive conclusion. If you need help dealing with a child’s arrest, call us today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.