What Happens After You Get Arrested as a Juvenile in Kansas?
If you have been arrested, it is important for you to understand what comes next. Unfortunately, Kansas’s juvenile justice process is extraordinarily complicated, and this makes it hard to figure out what you can expect – and what you need to do – while your case is pending. To help you begin to navigate the process, here is an overview from Johnson County juvenile lawyer Jerry Merrill:
1. Intake at the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC)
When you are arrested as a juvenile, the police will take you to the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center (JIAC) in your jurisdiction. You will be asked a series of questions, the JIAC staff will contact your parents, and then you will either be released or taken to a Juvenile Detention Facility depending on the severity of the offense for which you were arrested.
2. Police Questioning
Being arrested is not the same thing as being charged with a crime—this is a step that comes later. In order to determine whether to charge you, the prosecutor’s office needs evidence, and this means that the police need to conduct an investigation. Part of this investigation will involve questioning you about your involvement in the alleged crime.
Prior to questioning you in custody, the police must read your Miranda rights. These include your right to remain silent and your right to speak with an attorney. It is critically important that you exercise both of these rights, as anything you say can be used against you in court.
3. Complaint and Initial Appearance
If the prosecutor’s office decides to charge you, it will file a Complaint, and the court will schedule your Initial Appearance. You will be notified of your court date through the service of a summons. Once you receive a summons, you must make plans to appear at your Initial Appearance with your attorney, as failing to do so can result in a warrant being issued for your arrest and detention.
4. Diversion, Guilty Plea (and Plea Bargain), or Trial
At this point, you need to make a decision. If this is your first offense and you have been charged with a relatively minor crime, you may be eligible to participate in a diversion program. If you complete the program successfully (which requires effort), your case will not go to trial and your charge will be dismissed.
If you are not eligible for diversion or do not wish to participate in a diversion program, then you can either plead guilty (or “no contest”) or take your case to trial. If you plead guilty, you may be able to mitigate the consequences by negotiating a plea bargain. If you want to fight your charge at trial, then you will need to be able to convince the judge or jury that the prosecutor’s office has not met its burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Whichever option you choose – pleading guilty or going to trial – you will need an experienced defense attorney to fight on your behalf.
Discuss Your Case with Johnson County Juvenile Lawyer Jerry Merrill
The consequences of being adjudicated delinquent (or found guilty if you are tried as an adult) can have far-reaching consequences for many aspects of your life. In order to protect yourself, you need experienced legal representation. To discuss your case with Johnson County juvenile lawyer Jerry Merrill, call 913-381-2085 or request a free consultation online now.