What can I do if my daughter was charged with truancy? 2 Answers as of June 22, 2011

My daughter was issued a court ordered truancy hearing. She has ten unexcused absences. What should I expect or what should I do? How serious is this?

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Andersen Law PLLC
Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
At the hearing, you will go into the juvenile court and wait to be called. There may be a check-in policy so ask about that at the clerk's office. When your case is called, the judge will swear you in as a witness. In that situation stick to simple, truthful answers to the prosecutor o judge. Don't elaborate or embellish. If the judge wants additional information can ask for it. Maintain good eye contact with whoever questions you. If you don't understand the question, ask the asker to rephrase the question. If you are asked questions that would tend to incriminate you, you should simply assert your right to an attorney and to remain silent. The usual path of a truancy prosecution is fining the parent. In extreme cases, your daughter may be sitting in Juvenile Detention and be transferred to and from school. Juvi is just as nasty as grown up jail too. Basically the judge will listen to evidence and make a decision on the spot. You can be held responsible for your child's stupidity and you should prepare yourself to testify regarding any effort you have made to get your daughter to attend school. Also see about getting a certified copy of your daughter's school transcript if her grades are good. You might want to investigate the school-at-home program. Basically the kids are responsible for getting their work and tests done. Once a week the student meets with a counselor to ensure she is progressing sufficiently. If there are any drug or alcohol issues, get your daughter evaluated by a state-certified chemical dependence counselor so you can show that court that you are taking steps to address those issues. If the counselor's report recommends treatment, have a plan in place for treatment is soon as you are able. All of this puts you in a real bind. On the one hand, you may have trouble controlling your daughter. I know from experience with two daughters that they tend to go off the deep end shortly after puberty. What I have done with some success is to take away privileges. Every kid I know walks around with his or her PDA or phone. As long as you pay the bill it is your phone and you can take it away. The same thing goes for the internet. I imagine most 16-year-old girls heads would implode the moment they are cut off from friends. In fact, there was a study released recently indicating that the "high" they get from texting is quite similar to sex. Go figure-a bunch of teens obsessed with sex. All I can tell you is it gets better in time. At thirteen, our kids think we are stupid and arbitrary. I don't know how many times I heard "Why can't I go to downtown Portland in the middle of the night; Mackenzie's mom lets her go?" The good news is we get smarter as the kids age. Between 26 and 30 your daughter will get why you wouldn't let her go to a kegger out in the middle of nowhere. In the meantime, you need to be sane because she is incapable of reasoning like an adult.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/22/2011
Law Office of Andrew Subin
Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
You should hire a lawyer. I do not practice in this area per se, but you should take this pretty seriously.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/21/2011
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