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What happens when a Kansas juvenile is arrested?

One of the most taxing experiences anyone can have is being taken into custody. If you think Kansas adults have difficulties coping with an arrest, imagine what that feels like for a child.

Officers are required to read Miranda Rights to juveniles at the time of an arrest. A child is warned that what they say or do can be used against them. Like adults, juveniles are encouraged to ask for legal representation before talking with authorities.

The next step in the legal process involves the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center. The child undergoes an interview to evaluate whether services are available to help the minor. For instance, an admission of substance abuse could lead to inclusion in a drug or alcohol treatment program.

Following the assessment, the minor either will be permitted to return home or be placed in a juvenile detention facility. It's less probable the child will have an opportunity to leave if criminal allegations are very severe.

Freedom is more likely when an arrest involves a misdemeanor offense, like possession of a small amount of marijuana, than a more serious felony charge like drug trafficking. Detention is very likely if a crime involves a person felony, a crime against another person. A decision not to free a juvenile also depends on whether the child has an arrest history or has the potential to cause harm.

A released juvenile must follow any conditions set down by a judge, like adherence to a curfew. The penalty for violating orders may include confinement until a following court date.

Detained children have their first court appearance within a few days. Parents are encouraged to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible following a child's arrest. The lawyer will meet with the child and represent the minor's legal interests at the hearing, where a judge will determine whether continued detention is necessary.

Source: Kansas Legal Services, "Juvenile Crime and Consequences in Kansas," accessed Aug. 21, 2015

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