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Does your child have a right to legal counsel in juvenile court?

| Feb 3, 2020 | Criminal Defense

If your child has been charged with a crime in Ohio, there are certain procedures that the courts must follow for juveniles that are different from adult criminal proceedings. The ability of juveniles to waive their right to legal counsel has some specific limitations. 

Waiver of right to counsel 

While it is possible for a juvenile to waive the right to legal counsel, the Ohio Supreme Court Rules of Juvenile Procedure state that your child must first consult with their legal guardian, be that you or some other custodian. The right to a child’s counsel cannot be waived by the child’s custodian, guardian or parent. 

When your child cannot waiver the right to counsel 

If your child has been charged with a felony, he or she cannot waive the right to legal counsel unless he or she has first discussed the disadvantages of self-representation in a private meeting with an attorney. If one of the potential consequences in your child’s situation is that he or she could lose his or her liberty, he or she must be informed of the disadvantages of self-representation on the record before he or she can waive the right to counsel. 

There are some other circumstances in which your child’s right to counsel cannot be waived. If you, the child’s custodian or guardian requested that the child be removed from the home, or if the child has a disagreement or conflict with you, the custodian or the guardian, the right to counsel cannot be waived. The right to counsel also cannot be waived when a request has been made for a serious youthful offender dispositional sentence.