You have the right to have an attorney speak to DHS on your behalf. Do not let DHS tell you anything different.Oregon lawyer Mike Arnold
Juvenile law is a specialized area in Oregon. Only a handful of lawyers in Lane County regularly make an appearance in Juvenile Court, which is at the Serbu Center off of MLK (across from Autzen Stadium).
Juvenile Dependency Cases in Oregon
Your lawyer should not be part of the System. Your attorney should be part of the Solution.
Typically a juvenile court dependency case arises in one of two ways. First, there is an anonymous report to the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) of some sort of child abuse or neglect, often made by an ex-spouse. Second, DHS may learn of a criminal case that the agency believes places a child in the home in danger.
Juvenile dependency cases can often be nipped in the bud before a juvenile petition is even filed in Lane County Juvenile Court. Quality representation at this stage of the case is crucial or else you can often expect to have DHS and Juvenile Court in your life for some time in the future.
The goal of all juvenile cases is the return of the child to the home. When DHS no longer believes that a return to the home is possible, they may refer the case to the Oregon Attorney General’s Office to seek a termination of parental rights.
Termination of Parental Rights Cases in Oregon
Termination of parental rights (TPR) trials are referred to as the civil death penalty. TPR cases are very complex and involve multiple expert witnesses. It is absolutely imperative that you have a quality juvenile court attorney in your corner asking the tough questions of the experts that the state has hired to use against you. Cross-examining psychological experts requires your lawyer knowing as much about the subject matter as the psychological expert and the ability to effectively utilize cross-examination techniques. This means you need a juvenile lawyer who is an experienced trial lawyer.
Juvenile Delinquency Case (Children as Criminal Defendants)
A juvenile delinquency case is akin to an adult criminal case, except there is no right to a jury trial. During an investigation your child has the same rights as an adult. Most importantly a child has the right to remain silent and to speak to an attorney. He cannot be compelled to speak to an officer if either of those rights is asserted. If possible, contact an attorney prior to agreeing to speak to the police. Our office can assist you at any point of the proceedings.
Our office handles these cases on a flat or hourly fee basis. If you cannot afford an attorney for your child, you are entitled to court appointed representation and the court will assist you with that. Call or text 541-797-0110.