Juvenile Detention in Connecticut
If your child commits a crime while they are under the age of 17, the offense will generally be handled in juvenile court, which is focused far more on rehabilitation than on punishment. However, sometimes the offense will not be serious enough to be sent to adult court, but serious enough to warrant further supervision. In these cases, the answer is usually to remand the juvenile to detention. This is less common than it used to be, but it will happen in some cases, and if it does, it is important for both you and your child to understand your rights in this situation.
15 Days Max - Usually
Most situations in which a minor is arrested in Connecticut will end in their being released to their parents with a promise to appear in juvenile court in days or weeks. However, if the child has committed a more serious offense, authorities have the option of sending them to juvenile detention until the next business day, when arraignment will usually happen. Unlike in adult court, bail is not required in juvenile court, and minors may not post bail of their own accord, so very often a minor will remain in the detention center until their arraignment.
In all but the rarest cases, the maximum amount of time a juvenile can remain in detention is 15 days. The only time this will be extended is if the juvenile has committed a serious juvenile offense (SJO), which is a crime which may (and frequently must) merit transferring the case to adult court. The list of SJOs include approximately 50 felonies, such as murder, sexual assault, and first-degree robbery, and kidnapping. If your child has been charged with an SJO, the likelihood of them remaining in juvenile detention is quite high even if the case remains in the juvenile court system.
Your Child Has Rights
While an extended stay in juvenile detention is reserved for those who have committed serious crimes or who otherwise demonstrate a need to be watched over, it is important to know that there are strict regulations on when a child may be placed there. Effective January 2017, Connecticut law holds that no child may be placed in detention unless certain criteria are met - namely:
- There is probable cause to believe that the child has actually committed the acts they are charged with;
- There is no less restrictive alternative available - that is, there is no other place that the child could stay that would not be problematic or dangerous; and
- One of three scenarios are true:
- There is “probable cause” that the child will pose a “risk to public safety” if released prior to their hearing;
- There is a need to hold the child so as to ensure their appearance in court - especially if they have failed to appear in the past; and/or
- There is a need to hold the child so that another jurisdiction can get to them.
If you believe that these criteria are not being met in your child’s case, contacting an experienced juvenile defense attorney is crucial, so that you can ensure your child’s rights are being protected throughout the criminal process.
Can a Stamford Juvenile Defense Attorney Help You?
Learning that your child has committed a crime can be terrifying for any good parent; it can be hard to determine how to proceed, especially if the crime is serious. Contacting a skilled Fairfield County juvenile defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can be a good start - Attorney Weiner has been handling these matters for years and is passionate about ensuring your child’s rights are protected. Contact our office at 203-348-5846 today for a free consultation.