appearance ticket? Please advice...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by seekinghope, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    O.K. here it is our day in court has finally come. I just received the letter in the mail today and we are suppose to be in family court Monday.
    Can people who have had court experience please offer me some advice? This seems little time to be prepared. I thought we would get a date and have about two weeks at the least.
    By the way my difficult child and a couple of neighborhood kids were caught taking $ from a friends house.
    My son upon seeing my car at the house was the only one of the kids who came back to the house. He returned the $ and said he had not taken it and was sorry that his friend did. None the less he was with the other kids.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, is this an arraignment (his FIRST) court appearance? Or, has there already been an arraignment and this is his disposition (sentencing) hearing?

    If he's never been in court for this and you've never signed a waiver for attny or discussed the attny situation with them, then this will be what happens Monday. I doubt if they will do any sentencing then, at least they don't here, because they can't be prepared for it until they know if a) he will have a court appointed attny, b) you will provide him with an attny or c) you and he are waiving his rights to an attny (they don't allow that here for a juvenile if the charge is a felony charge).

    If you are unsure of this, call the clerk's office at the courthouse and ask them what type of hearing is he listed for. That will let you know what to prepare for.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    If you can afford it, I would provide him with an attny that you pay for- many court appntd attny's don't do much. If he's never been in any or much trouble, the attny should be able to work out a reasonable deal for him, based on those facts you wrote about what happened. Maybe probation or community service.
  4. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    Thanks KLMNO,
    No, he has never been in court before. He has never been in any trouble before this.
    Thank goodness he has not been in any legal trouble since, (mostly because he was in th phos. twice and the RCT)
    He did leave the last one but he was not mandated there.

    So now his bio dad and I are trying to work this out on such short notice. He lives 8 hours away.

    Does my difficult child have to be in personally in court for the appearance ticket?

    His father is not in the greatest of shape. He had prostate cancer about 5 yrs. ago and was in a serious car accident (broke his back) about 3 yrs. ago. A young girl ran into him and they needed the jaws-of-life to get him out. Talk about bad luck he had just reeived the news that he was cancer free!

    So an 8 hour drive is not easy on him and if has to do it again, o boy!
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I would call the Courthouse and ask if he has to be physically present for
    the "appearance" on Monday or if you can go in his place. Explain that he
    is many hours away, etc....but don't discuss the charges. Make specific
    notes of what time you called, who you spoke to (name spelled correctly)
    and what you were told. Chances are you can go alone and will be told what the next step will be.

    Sad to say I don't trust anyone in "the system" so if it comes to an actual
    Court date, I also recommend hiring an experienced juvie attorney. It is not like it used to be in the court system, particularly with teens. Some of our communities are VERY ANTI youthful offenders. It is wise to be forewarned and forearmed. DDD
  6. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    If this is his first court appearance for this, generally it will be a reading of the charges and an appointment of a lawyer if you need one. Whether or not you get your own lawyer or use a court appointed one really depends on your town. Where I live (or at least our experiences with them) the court appointed ones are pretty good. They have kept difficult child's sentences pretty fair and easy in my opinion. You may want to ask around about the lawyers that the court uses.

    Another thing to keep in mind, you may be there all day just waiting. When our court has juvie court, everyone goes in in the morning and they call cases. We've never known when our turn will be so sometimes we've gotten done relatively quickly and other times we've been the last case heard. No one told us that the first time and it can make for a long day.

    Good luck.
  7. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    O.K.DDD I did that, and since he was never in any trouble before and was an honor student and athlete without any major school incidences they have moved it from court to family court with a judge to ( informal) family court between the PINS and probation depart. She called it a diversion.
    I am waiting for her to call me back after she talks with her supervisor.
    I pray that he can stay out of trouble.
    Also I did not know that they had been checking-in with the phos once a week while he was there.
    His father got a good dose of his anxiety levels yesterday. On and On for hours talking and repeating the same things over and over. This went on from 5:30 till 9:30 until his dad finally escaped to bed.
    Has anyone had experience with a "DIVERSION"?
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    The appearance is most likely an appearance to plead guilty or not guilty. It should take about 5 minutes. They will assign an attorney to your son then.

    I wouldn't try to sell the "I didn't take it" story, as he had the money in his hands. Judges don't like that. He did take it. Either from the house or from one of his friends, but he took it. His conscience also took hold and he returned the money and apologized. If he doesn't want to tick off the judge, he should truthfully explain his role, point out that he voluntarily returned the money, that he apologized, and apologize again to the people and/or to the court.

    He will never ever in a million years get a judge to believe that he didn't take the money if he had the money and returned it. I can not impress strongly enough upon you that trying to go with this story would be a really bad idea. As you explained it here, he should not plead "not guilty". It won't go well for him. He should plead "guilty" and allow the court to mete out the appropriate punishment.
  9. lambsear2

    lambsear2 New Member

    First off, I would caution you about permitting your son to make any statements before you speak to an attorney and/or know what it going on. Our son told us one thing, then as the hearing dates progressed, the story changed and he became more deeply implicated. The rules of family court are not the same as the adult legal system. Also remember that the other kids involved will be making statements also. It is possible that other details may pop up.

    We were told that a child must be represented by an attorney at all court dates. I don't know if this is NY state regulations or if it is county regs. However, you should be able to attend the first hearing without an attorney. Depending on what they are going to do, they may assign an attorney for the hearing.

    I am assuming that your child is being charged with something. Since he is a good student without prior issues, that will definitely work in his advantage.

    The family courts want to be able to redirect kids, not necessarily put them away. At some point they will make you an offer based up on the statements made by the defendants. It can be as simple as PINS, probation, community service or placement in a residential facility for a specific period of time- it really is up to the judge to determine what he wants to do.

    PINS Diversion is NYS effort to keep kids out of the system. You are assigned a case worker who will determine what events lead up to the incident and what your child needs to do to correct their behavior, activities etc. They can do this by requiring your child to fulfill specific requirements to correct his trouble areas. They can monitor school attendance, grades, activities and require counseling and/or family counseling. If a child fails to fulfill their responsiblies, then a PINS application would be filed and you would go to family court for something more restrictive.

    The courts will require a legal guardian to be there with your son. It does not have to be both parents.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
  10. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    Thank you all for all the help, I don't know what I would do if I did not have you folks to turn too for advice and comfort. I feel as though I am given some direction which allows me to feel that I have some control.
    His father had to deal with anxiety yesterday, not pretty. He said he kept it up for four hours straight. Then as soon as he woke up he called me and he was still on the high end, right back at it.
    Problem with my difficult child is he envisions the worst case scenario, that plays over and over in his mind and no matter how hard he tries to stop it he can't.
    I have tried to explain this to my ex. He will not make it without being medicated. What my son eventually does is sets himself up to fail just to get it over with because he cannot stand the worrying any longer. I hope that I am making sense. He has told this to the Dr. but he has not been in therapy with the same dr. long enough for any one person to get to know him well enough.
    Even his dad has been thinking I am exaggerating since this was not evident before. Well now he is getting a dose of what me and his step father have been dealing with for the past 10 months.
    I found a lot of material on onset adolescent disorders. And my difficult child although managing until now was still a demanding child. I was lucky he was my last and I had been an experienced parent.
    I'll update on Mon. when the probation debt. calls back.
    I just want to have a normal day where I am not dreading someone pulling into the yard, or when the phone rings, etc. I want my normal life back!
    Again many thanks to all who gave their input.
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, wish I could help. Looks like you've already gotten some good advice.
    Just wanted to send support.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Yes, PS and to concur with what lambsear said because I wasn't terribly concise. The first hearing is "guilty or not guilty", and there may or may not be more legal action at that point. He should plead not guilty, if given the chance. But it isn't exactly like adult court, so the judge may just ask for his side of the story. He should be honest and contrite, with the judge and/or with the attorney. After he has told his attorney the truth, he should tell the truth to the judge and play up his good history and that he felt guilty and gave the money back. But again, he needs to drop the "I didn't take it" line. He had the money in his hands, and he knew it wasn't his.
  13. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    Yes Witz, I have explained this to him over and over. Guilty by association, regardless if he took something or not. He entered with his friends. He seems to have trouble absorbing new info. once he has made up his own mind of how things should be.
    This is not a stupid child. I still can't tell if he is just being stubborn or if he just cannot comprehend the new info. I am telling him (especially if there are several new pieces of info.)
    Now this is something his dad has already noticed too because I called him first with the info. about probation, and diversion and what might be expected from our son. He was like "do not tell him this all at once" "give it to him a little at a time or he'll flip-out because he won't absorb all this." He was afraid he would hear the words probation and PINS and from there KABOOM!
    I calmly tried to explain that he was very lucky to probably not be going before a judge and the J.V. judge here is suppose to be very strict. But there had to be some consequence for his actions and I was sorry that I do not have the power to change the law. Also, that his future was his responsibility and he had to make sure he learned to not act out impulsively.
    I told him I would get back to him on Mon. when I knew more. That will give him time to accept this part of it.
    My daughter lives closer to dad and she said she would call him and offer to take Grg to any Dr., dentist, etc. appts.Hopefully this will take some pressure off bio dad and my son will get some care.
    Thanks again!
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Diversion (where we live) is a ONE TIME opportunity to avoid a record for a juvenile who is involved in a non-violent crime. The juvenile is offered Diversion and there are stipulations that go with it. Sometimes there is
    counseling, community service, on rare occasion I think curfews. IF the
    juvenile "violates" the conditions then the case is referred to Court.

    Good luck. I'm so sorry that you have had to join the ranks. Hugs. DDD
  15. galadriel

    galadriel Guest

    Jumping in late here, but I do office support work for a central NY county attorney's dept....., County Attorneys are mandated to prosecute JD's in NY. Diversion in our county means you get to avoid Court and the Probation Dept. will meet with you and put services in place as they deem necessary. The county attorney will be involved if Probation thinks they need help making a judgment call on how to handle the case. A kid that shows sincere remorse or takes responsibility for their action or involvement will be much appreciated and better off in the long run. A kid that is oppositional and rude will be heading for Court and more stringent results a lot quicker. If you end up in Court, difficult child must be present for all appearances. He must be given assigned counsel immediately although some parents chose to hire an attorney. Standards of proof and a juvenile's rights are the same as an adult's, although confidentiality is tighter (no names in paper, sealed record, etc.)

    My difficult child was involved in vandalising/destroying a village park memorial bench and avoided police action by admitting he did it, volunteering to pay for the bench, and calling the village cop and asking to meet him to confess (when he heard the jig was up!) It all happened when difficult child's medication balance was perfect..since then he has reneged to me and wished he hadn't confessed, but that is another story! With some help from me to set it up, instead of paying difficult child built a new bench and delivered it to the park, after procrastinating for weeks and when doing the project, he screamed and raged the whole time......but anyways:

    Your input will be valuable too. Try and use this as an opportunity to explore any and all services available to you through the system. Let them know that your difficult child has been in treatment and psychiatric hospital so they can see that you are on top of the situation.

    Hang in there! These teen years are tough. My kids aren't juvies anymore so I'm dreading the next event.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You know, he doesn't have to plead "guilty", he just needs to tell the truth. They will figure out what he is guilty of, either way. If he's honest and sorry for his role in it, even if he pleads not guilty, things will go better than if he tries to wrangle his way out of it.

    In all seriousness, they may not have charged him with the correct crime, and "not guilty" may very well be right. But if he tries to make an excuse, he can figure on "guilty as charged, too bad, so sad..." It might be helpful to look up the statute that he is charged with violating and go over it with him. Ask him to look within himself to see if he is guilty. Look at the sub-sections too. He should be aware of where this can go. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony. It all depends upon intent and details. But as a juvenile, the punishment and the type of record he carries with him can all depend upon the remorse he shows. He has already made a good start. Don't let him hang with those other boys and get caught up in their bravado. That's not how he wants to work this at all.