Your Kid Was Just Arrested in Chicago – What Now?
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: receiving a call or a visit from law enforcement telling you that your child has been arrested in Chicago. The shock, fear, and confusion that follow such news can be overwhelming. However, it’s crucial to remember that you are not alone, and there are steps you can take to support your child and navigate the legal process.
In this blog post, we will guide you through what to do if your kid has been arrested in Chicago.
Stay Calm and Gather Information
The first and most important step is to stay calm. Your child needs you to be level-headed and supportive during this difficult time. Begin by asking the police for information about the charges, where your child is being held, and their current status. Make a note of the names and badge numbers of the officers you speak with.
Contact an Attorney
Once you have the initial information, the next crucial step is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Having legal representation is essential to protect your child’s rights and navigate the complex legal system. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for a public defender.
Visiting Your Child
You have the right to visit your child while they are in custody, but it’s important to check with the detention facility for visiting hours and any specific requirements. Be prepared to provide identification and follow the facility’s rules.
Understand the Charges
It’s essential to understand the charges against your child. Chicago has a range of laws and ordinances, and the severity of the offense will determine how the case proceeds. Your attorney will help you understand the charges and potential consequences.
Bail and Bond
In many cases, your child may be eligible for bail or bond, which allows them to be released from custody until their trial. The amount and conditions of bail will depend on several factors, including the severity of the charges, your child’s criminal history, and their ties to the community. Your attorney can assist you in navigating this process.
Support Your Child Emotionally
Being arrested can be a traumatic experience for anyone, especially a young person. Your child may be scared, confused, and ashamed. It’s crucial to offer emotional support during this time and assure them that you are there for them, no matter what.
Attend Court Hearings
As the legal process unfolds, your child will have court hearings where their case is discussed and decisions are made. It’s essential to attend these hearings to show your support and stay informed about the progress of the case.
Explore Diversion Programs
Chicago offers various diversion programs for youth offenders aimed at rehabilitation and preventing further involvement in the criminal justice system. Your attorney can help explore these options, which may include counseling, education, or community service.
Be Prepared for Juvenile Court
If your child is under 18, their case will likely be handled in juvenile court, which has a different set of procedures and focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Understanding the juvenile justice system and working closely with your attorney is crucial in ensuring the best possible outcome for your child.
Learn About Expungement
Once your child’s case is resolved, it’s important to explore the possibility of expungement. Expungement can remove certain juvenile records from public view, helping your child move forward without the burden of a criminal record.
Having your child arrested in Chicago is undoubtedly a challenging and emotional experience, but it’s essential to remember that there is help available. By staying calm, seeking legal representation, and providing emotional support, you can navigate the legal process and work towards the best possible outcome for your child. Remember that you are not alone in this journey, and there are resources and professionals ready to assist you every step of the way.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.