If a child is placed on probation the following are some of the requirements he or she might have:
NOTE THAT THE TIME TO ARGUE OR DISAGREE ABOUT THE CONDITIONS OF PROBATION IS NOT AT THE TIME THE CHILD PLEAS TO THE CRIME. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE MAKES A RECOMMENDATION LONG BEFORE THE COURT DATE. IN MANY INSTANCES, AN EXPERIENCED JUVENILE CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN NEGOTIATE THE CONDITIONS OF PROBATION.
- Curfew: Curfews are usually set at 6 or 7PM, however can be as early as after school, UNLESS the child is with a parent, at work, or at a school or church sanctioned function.
- Driver’s license suspension: Even if your child does not yet have a driver’s license, the judge can suspend it – so that when they do get their driver’s license, it will automatically be suspended. This is particularly true for any drug or alcohol related crime.
- Community Service hours: Make sure you approve the location with the probation officer first.
- Home rule: Home Rule is the most easily violated and probably the most important on juvenile probation. It means if a parent or guardian says take out the trash, the child needs to obey – NOW, not when they’ve finished their video game. If you go into juvenile court (and I would encourage everyone to observe this process at least once), you will see parents bringing their children into court because the child has refused to obey the HOME RULE. The judge has the option of giving the child a stern lecture or locking him or her up for 5 days on the first offense and 15 days on the second or more.
- School rule: This means no unexcused absences, tardiness, suspension, etc.
- Restitution: If there is damage to a person or property, the child may need to pay restitution. If the child does not pay, the parents can be held responsible. (This rarely happens, however if you are a parent being held responsible for your child’s wrongdoing, call me!)
- Counseling: The probation officer may require either group or individual counseling, at the child (or parents) expense.
- Random urine screens for drugs or alcohol.
- Drug treatment
- Classes provided by the Department of Juvenile Justice: Usually one hour classes on varying topics like shoplifting, bullying or alcohol abuse.
- Letter of apology to the victim
- No contact with the co-defendants. If your child was arrested with other kids, the judge will almost always make it a condition of their release that they have no contact with the other kids.
- No contact with the victim. This is especially true if your child is charged with a theft crime. They will no longer be allowed back to the store where they stole.
- Depending on the crime, the probation officer may require the child to do other tasks as well.
Some of you might notice that there’s not a requirement that the child take a tour of the jail. The Department of Juvenile Justice stopped tours as of a few years ago. As you have seen on TV, the Department of Juvenile Justice used to have a program where they took kids into the jail or the prison for the day and had the inmates scare the kids. If you would like your child to have a tour of the jail, call your local sheriff’s office and see how to schedule it.