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Has Your Minor Child Been Arrested in Ohio? Here's What to Do

What Do I Do if My Minor Child is Arrested in Ohio?

If your minor child has been arrested or is being questioned by police, an Ohio lawyer can help protect the child's rights.

It can be shocking when a parent gets a call from the police saying that a child has been arrested. Even a young child can be arrested and could be held in the Juvenile Detention Center until he or she is brought before a judge or magistrate. What should a parent do when this happens?

If this is your first experience with the juvenile Court system in Ohio, be sure to read our article: "Is Your Child in Trouble with the Law? Read This First". 

Should I retain an attorney for my child?

The juvenile defendant is entitled to an attorney and most of the other constitutional rights that an adult enjoys. So use them.

If your child is detained by the police, or even if the police merely want to question your child, your first move should be to retain an attorney for your child. If you cannot afford one, ask the court to appoint one for your child.

Usually, the child will go in front of a judge or magistrate shortly after the child is detained. Be prepared for that pre-trial hearing. At this hearing, a trial date may be set. The court may release the child to a parent to await trial, but it may not. The court may order "pretrial detention" for your child, keeping him or her in the detention center until the trial date.

Can My Child Avoid Pretrial Detention?

It is common for the court to attempt to hold a juvenile defendant for a week or so after an arrest to conduct a risk assessment to determine whether it is safe to release the child. If the charge is very serious, the judge may try to keep the child in pretrial detention until the trial date.

Have a lawyer for the child present even at the first hearing to try to challenge any attempts for pretrial detention. We have argued on behalf of many of our clients to make sure they don't spend time in detention before the trial.

What happens after the initial detention hearing?

The case will be put on a path toward trial immediately. Again, it makes good sense to retain an attorney who can represent the child during negotiations with the prosecutor, and if necessary, at trial. The child's attorney will represent and advise the child in order to minimize repercussions to the child and his or her future.

Other articles you may be interested in:

What punishment might my child be facing if found 'delinquent'?

If a child is determined by the court to be delinquent, the child can be punished in numerous ways, including:

  • time in the Juvenile Detention Center
  • time in a rehabilitation facility
  • a sentence in the Department of Youth Services (which is basically "juvenile prison")
  • mandated counseling
  • mandated probation, possibly with a GPS device
  • community service

Don't Underestimate the Seriousness of a Juvenile Charge.

Even though it is not adult court, the juvenile justice system can impose severe sanctions against the child, including jail or prison. Take it seriously.

Be on time for all court hearings. Make sure at least one parent accompanies the child to all hearings.

The attorneys at Dearie, Fischer and Mathews have decades of experience representing children in Juvenile Court. Feel free to call us if your child is accused of any offense.

~ Jim

Article submitted by Jim Dearie.

Dearie, Fischer & Mathews LLC

In Lebanon or the greater Cincinnati area, call 513-696-6765.

In Beavercreek or the greater Dayton area, call 513-696-6765.


Serving Warren County, Butler County, Montgomery County, Greene County, and all of Southwest Ohio.

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