First, know that the best thing you can do for your child is to get him or her a good attorney. The Public Defenders’ Offices in South Carolina are a good place to start, if you cannot afford an attorney for your child. If you do not qualify financially for an appointed attorney, you will likely be directed by the Court to hire an attorney for your child, if you have not done so by the time of the child’s first court appearance.
It is also important to know that the police do not have to get your permission to interrogate your child! And, anything your child says to the police can and will be used against him or her. It is very important that you talk to an attorney as soon as possible in the process so that your child has someone who can explain his constitutional rights to him.
Children do not have all of the same constitutional rights as adults – for example, they are not entitled to a trial by jury. Yet, adjudications in family court can have life-long implications for children. It can affect your access to public housing, it can affect whether the child can continue to attend school, and may affect entitlement to certain college funding.
It is important when your child is faced with a criminal charge that you hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can help your child navigate the waters of family court.