Getting a call or having an officer show up at your home to let you know your child is under arrest is a scary experience. All parents want to do is keep their children safe and protect them from anything bad in life. Once a legal issue comes up, though, you may feel helpless. You may not even know what rights a juvenile has in Mississippi.

That is why it is important to have some understanding of juvenile law in the state. Knowing your child’s rights when under arrest is just as important as knowing your own rights because you never know what could happen. Here is a look at three rights your child has when he or she is under arrest.

1. To go in front of a youth court

According to The Mississippi Bar, in most cases, your child has the right to go to youth court, which is a civil court, instead of a criminal court. A youth court is not public. Your child will only be in front of the judge as there is no jury. However, if your child is facing a felony charge, the case may go to adult criminal court.

2. To have records kept confidential

Juvenile records are by law confidential. Upon reaching the age of 20 or after the case is closed, your child can have his or her records sealed. There are limited exceptions to opening juvenile records.

3. To have you there during questioning

The arresting officer has a duty to try to contact you and continue to try to contact you before questioning your child so you can be present. However, if you are unavailable, the officer may still question your child. It is not a law that you have to be there, but you do need notified.

Keeping these three points in mind can help you to explain to your child what will happen and how to handle the situation once he or she is under arrest.

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