As a parent with a rebellious teenager, you probably dread a call that informs you he or she has been arrested. If it comes, no matter how well prepared you think you may be, your life will become a whirlwind. No matter how much craziness your kid creates in your home, he or she is still your kid. It is completely understandable that you will worry about things like detention center fights and exposure to truly hardened teenagers. You probably will also be anxious about whether your child feels lonely or afraid. It is at this point that a family member can usually bail out a loved one housed in an adult jail; however, only in very limited circumstances can one bail out a juvenile. Here's what you need to know.
Adult vs. juvenile corrections: a tale of two philosophies
First, it is important to distinguish the differing goals of the adult and juvenile correctional systems. Adult correctional systems are based on the theory of punishment, while juvenile systems are focused on deterrence and rehabilitation. Bail is allowed as an adult citizen's right to live independently until proven guilty of a crime that deserves consequences. Juveniles, however, are usually perceived as needing supervision until a proper youth facility or treatment program becomes available that will help their yet-young hearts change.
State of the system
Currently there is no uniformity in the juvenile justice system across all 50 states. Generally, however, juveniles are not eligible for bail in the traditional sense of the word. Teens wait differing amounts of time in different states to be seen by a judge, who may release them to their parents while charges are investigated and attorneys discuss sentencing options.
When bail can bring your child home
This is the "good news/bad news" part of the juvenile justice story. The bad news is that sometimes juveniles are transferred to the adult court system to face trial as adults. This is called a "waiver" because it means the judge has decided to put aside the usual protection of the juvenile corrections system. Although circumstances prompting a waiver differ from state to state, common elements are:
The juvenile has a history of legal offenses.
The juvenile has proven resistant to rehabilitation through diversionary and treatment programs.
The nature of the crime with which the juvenile is charged is considered unusually violent or serious.
Some states allow minors of any age to be charged as adults, while others will only initiate waivers for children who are 16 or older.
The good news of such a disturbing situation is that juveniles charged as adults do have the right to bail, so it's possible for you to reach out to a company like All-Mobile Bail Bonds and get them released. As in any adult case, a judge will decide whether or not bail is appropriate based on the juvenile's history, family support system, the facts of the crime, and the likelihood that the child would run away before trial.
If you get the phone call that your child has been arrested and taken to a juvenile detention facility, it is likely to be a while until you are able to see him/her. Once the charges have been reviewed, you will be given information about the initial hearing. At this time you will find out whether your child will be released to you while awaiting a future court date or kept in custody. If the judge decides your child is to stand trial as an adult, he/she will be transferred to the adult facility. Once your son or daughter has been cleared for bond, a bail bond company in your area can facilitate his/her release.
It's important to know the facts about juvenile bail before you are in crisis mode.