Juvenile Incorrigibility Laws: Refusal to Obey Parents

If a child's disobedience is severe enough that he or she is found to be incorrigible, there may be serious legal consequences.

Typically, claims of incorrigibility begin with a statement by a parent, guardian or others. In some cases, a defense attorney may be necessary in to represent the child. The parent, guardian, custodian, child therapist, or other individual may petition a prosecutor to take action against the disobedient youth.

If your child's therapist or another authority petitioned the state against your child, you can hire a defense attorney on your child's behalf. If you believe your child is actually incorrigible, you can contact a prosecutor or juvenile intake officer.

It is easy enough to confuse a disobedient child with an incorrigible child, but the two are not the same. Incorrigibility refers to more than just simple refusal to obey parents' wishes; it means that a child is repeatedly refusing to obey parents, school authorities, legal authorities, and posted legal standards.

What is Incorrigibility?

There are basically three parts to the definition of incorrigibility. To be incorrigible, your child's actions must occur repeatedly and be disruptive, dangerous, disobedient, and in direct violation of lawful commands. One or two instances of disobedience could just be a part of growing up or being a teenager. Repeated, regularly occurring acts of disobedience may constitute a real problem.

The child's actions must also threaten the welfare, order, and/or safety of the environment and those near the child. Disorderly conduct in school, as well as drug or alcohol use, would fall into this category.

Finally, the orders that the child is violating must be legal commands. A child cannot be found incorrigible for disobeying illegal orders such as those that force the child to commit a crime or submit to being abused or hurt. Commands that violate the child's rights, such as his or her religious freedom, are also unlawful.

Punishments for Incorrigibility

If the court finds your child to be incorrigible, there are several things that could happen. The court could apply one or more punishments in your child's case; punishments depend on your situation. Speak to a defense attorney for specific information and potential punishments regarding your child's Fort Lauderdale case.

The lightest punishment is fines. The amount of the fine is determined on a case by case basis, and is calculated relevant to property damage or other offenses committed by the child. You could be held liable for the fines and costs associated with your child's punishment.

Your child might also be put on probation. This means that they will need to meet with a probation officer and obey the terms of the probation. The court could require your child to abide by a curfew, perform community service, and/or see a counselor, for example. You could also be found liable for the costs associated with seeing a therapist or counselor.

Finally, in the most severe cases, your child could be sentenced to a juvenile detention center. The length of the sentence would depend on your child's individual case.

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