Monday, November 18, 2013

A Brief Guide to "Truancy" Charges and Legal Representation

***Members of the Nebraska Family Forum are not attorneys and do not give legal advice.  Any advice given by the NFF is based on the experience of our members and what we have witnessed in the court system.***

What should you do if your child is referred to the county attorney for absences?

* If your child is referred to the county attorney, we recommend that you contact the Nebraska Family Forum immediately via e-mail (NebraskaFamilyForum@gmail.com), Facebook (Nebraska Family Policy Forum) or the website (NebraskaFamilyForum.org).  Provide your name and phone number and a representative of the NFF will contact you to confidentially gather information about your family's unique circumstances, and discuss with you possible options.

* The NFF recommends that you never appear in court or at a meeting with prosecutors without an attorney accompanying you.

* We recommend that you hire a private attorney if at all possible, even if that means calling on all your personal and family resources.  In our experience, we have learned that a private attorney is the best way to prevent you and your child from being unjustly treated in juvenile court.  If you retain an attorney at the beginning of the process, it is possible that it will not take much of his or her professional time to get the issue resolved, which could save you time, money, and stress.  Hiring a private attorney may be the best investment you ever make.  The NFF can provide you with referrals to attorneys who are familiar with the "excessive absenteeism" law.

* If it is impossible to hire a private attorney, you may request a public defender be assigned to your family.

* We strongly recommend that you refrain from making any statements to your school, to a county attorney, to DHHS, to a guardian ad litem, or to any member of the county's truancy diversion team or the GOALS team without an attorney representing you.  The NFF can provide you with "reverse Miranda" cards to use in case an attempt is made to question your child outside of your presence.

* If you are in a position where you must speak to any official without an attorney present, RECORD YOUR CONVERSATION.  This is legal in Nebraska, unless you are in a courtroom.

Please feel free to contact the Nebraska Family Forum with any other questions regarding "truancy" charges and legal representation.

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