When your child or a minor relative is facing charges in court, it’s understandable that you want help from juvenile law attorneys. Juvenile charges can have serious consequences, from a sentence in a detention center to a record that follows the child around, possibly for the rest of his or her life. A juvenile record can interfere with opportunities for your child in employment, education and other areas.
With so much on the line, you’ve simply got to find the right attorney for your child. Here are three things you need to know before you select one.
Check their background
Check the names of the attorneys you’re considering with the local bar association and legal licensing authority. Verify that he or she is properly licensed and find out about any disciplinary actions the attorney has faced in the past, such as misconduct. Stay away from any attorney who isn’t licensed and able to practice in the state and those who have a history of disciplinary actions against them.
Ask how often they’ve handled similar cases
You want juvenile law attorneys who have handled cases similar to your child’s before. You wouldn’t want a doctor who has never performed a particular procedure before to use you as his or her first attempt, and the same goes for attorneys. Ask the attorney how often he or she has handled cases like your child’s before and what those outcomes were, including when the case went to trial. Find out if the attorney regularly has cases in the court system handling your child’s; your attorney’s knowledge of the judge and prosecutor involved in the case is a significant advantage.
Get all the details
From fees to the attorney’s view of your child’s case, you need to get all the details before you commit. Ask the attorney how they feel the case will go. While juvenile law attorneys aren’t psychic, they should be willing to give you an honest preliminary assessment. Get all fees and expenses in writing, and ask the attorney to outline his or her case strategy. They should be able to tell you why they are going to apply a particular strategy to the case, including all of the pros and cons of the approach they’ve chosen.
Finally, find out how they will communicate with you throughout the case. During the process, it’s only natural that you will have questions and concerns, and the right attorney will be there to answer and address them for you.