Why You Should Never Be In Juvenile Dependency Court Without A Lawyer
Juvenile dependency cases are very serious business, and by the time these cases get to court, there are already serious concerns about the environment in which the children have been raised.
Oceanside juvenile dependency lawyers Fischer & Van Thiel caution that attempting to participate in a juvenile dependency hearing could lead to considerable trouble for you, and the scope of the problems you face could potentially drift far outside simply the matter of who will take care of your kids.
A lawyer will help to ensure that the case is presented completely fairly, and without any bias against you. A lawyer also can help to present any supporting evidence you may have in a manner the court will accept.
The best advantage of a lawyer, however, is that they can prevent you from incriminating yourself. Be assured that if you’re a parent in juvenile dependency court and you haven’t yet been charged with a crime, the most likely reason for this is that there is not enough evidence to guarantee a conviction. The exception may be where the accusation is of neglect, but where the neglect is not considered to be criminal neglect.
Neglect means that you’re not providing for the child sufficiently. Thus if a child is malnourished, does not have proper clothing, does not have shelter, or does not have access to education, it would be considered neglect. Sometimes this happens because the parent has no real choice. They don’t earn enough money to provide adequately, and nobody within the family is able to help. This form of neglect is serious, but it’s not criminal because there’s no intention to maltreat the child. Criminal neglect is when a parent willfully disregards the well-being of the child, showing no concern for the child’s physical or material needs.
The other reason for being present in court for a juvenile dependency hearing is because the child has been found to be living in an abusive environment. That’s a more serious matter. If the child is a victim of domestic violence, or any other abuse, the state may step in for the protection of the child and request that the child be placed in alternative care.
When possible-that is, when authorities are satisfied that there is no immediate threat to the child-the court tries to find a solution that keeps the family as close as possible. The actual remedies that the court would decide upon can depend on many different factors.
Without a lawyer presenting your side of the story and looking out for your interests, there is far greater chance that the outcome of the hearing will not go favorably for you. It would mean that the authorities have an open field to completely stack things against you, and that is very likely to happen if they are given that opportunity. When you have a lawyer, it prevents this kind of imbalance.