What to do if Your Child is Arrested
No parent ever plans to receive that call, but it happens to thousands of parents in the United States each year. You receive a call informing you that your child has been arrested. Instantly, you are overwhelmed with what to do – this is normal. Most individuals are not aware of what steps to take immediately after their child’s arrest. But, the actions you take could make a difference.
Steps to Take After the Arrest
Naturally, the best way to ward off trouble is to be aware of your child’s actions and where he or she is at all times. Even the best parents have trouble keeping track of their teenagers, however, and not all teenagers are forthcoming about their intentions with their parents. Once the arrest occurs, here is what you need to do:
- Realize that even good kids can get in trouble. Just because your child has been arrested does not mean that this will become an ongoing issue, or even that your child is bad. Even good children are arrested. Your child could have been in the wrong place at the wrong time – so never assume the worse.
- The police are not on your side. No matter what law enforcement tries to tell you, the police are not on your side. When you arrive at the police station, do not assume that the police officers will help you set your child free or that they even care if your child goes free. Police officers will not care what a great student your child is or how great his or her performance record has been in the past. Instead, they are only concerned with the facts of the case here and now. Do not disclose anything to law enforcement, even if they attempt to say they are on your side or understand what you are going through. Anything you say could still be used to hurt your child’s case.
- Be respectful and cooperate as much as you can. While police are not on your side, the worst thing you could do for your child is be disrespectful to law enforcement or appear as though you are not cooperating. While you don’t have to give them every detail, you will need to provide them with your name and identification. You also need to remain calm, regardless of how heightened emotions may be. Always be respectful, calm and polite each time you speak with police – even if you are telling them that they cannot search your home without a warrant.
- You may have limited rights. As a parent, you may still have limited rights. Sometimes a parent can be present for questioning, but, depending on your child’s age, you may be barred from entering the interrogation room.
- Contact an attorney. Regardless of what the crime may be, or even if you think your child is innocent, contact an attorney who has experience with juvenile crimes.
Contact a Jacksonville Attorney
If your child or teen has been arrested for a crime, contact The Armstrong Law Group, P.A. today. We can assist you with your juvenile crime case. Schedule a consultation or call us to be there during your child’s interrogation at 904-356-8618. You can also fill out our online contact form with your questions.Read More
Key Facts to Know About the Insanity Defense
The “insanity” defense is widely used in TV dramas and is popular among court cases shown in local and national news. While it seems like a quick way to get away with a crime, claiming insanity as a defense is much more complex – and unrealistic – than people realize.
One accused of a crime may acknowledge that he committed the crime, but argues that he is not responsible for doing so because of a mental illness. In these cases, he is pleading “not guilty by reason of insanity.”
Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity and Diminished Capacity
While the defense is based on a person’s diminished capacity, this is not the same as “reason of insanity.” Both will assess the overall competency of the defendant, but there are key differences that must be noted if you plan to use such defense in your own case.
The biggest difference is that the “reason of insanity” defense is a full defense. In other words, you are pleading not guilty because you lacked the mental capacity to understand your actions or realize what you were doing was wrong. Diminished capacity is not a full defense. Instead, you are pleading guilty, but to a lesser crime, because of your diminished mental capacity.
The History of Such Defense
This defense is not new – in fact, it has been around for some time. Society has mixed feelings on the insanity defense; in the legal field, it has been an ongoing topic of debate. On one hand, many feel that criminals should be punished for their crimes, but not when they need treatment. On the other hand, many also feel that, just because some criminals need treatment, this should not necessarily mean that they can get away with their actions without punishment. Instead, it is preferred that they receive treatment and be held accountable for their crimes.
The M’Naghten Rule
A legal test for insanity was devised in 1843 in the M’Naghten case. When the defendant used the insanity defense and was acquitted, the Queen of England demanded that a stricter set of rules be used to decide if a defendant was truly insane at the time when the crime was committed.
This standard is now used by jurors across the country. They will hear medical testimony regarding the defendant’s state of mind and, unless otherwise convinced that the defendant truly suffered from a mental condition or illness, the defendant will be found sane.
Insanity Defenses Do Not Mean You Go Free
Even if one is acquitted of a crime for insanity, that person is not necessarily freed. Instead, one will be institutionalized until the facility feels that the defendant is no longer suffering from mental illness, or a threat to society. Some individuals could spend the rest of their lives in a mental health facility receiving treatment.
It is Best to Devise a Defense Strategy with an Attorney
You will need to discuss your own defense strategy with a criminal attorney. Even if you feel that you had diminished capacity or a mental illness, your attorney will help you decide if that is the right strategy to use in your own defense. Contact The Armstrong Law Group, P.A. today regarding your case. We’re available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week at 904-356-8618 or via our online contact form.Read More