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Greene_Hesperide1990
07-31-2018, 10:14 PM
Hello everyone, I'm editing my MS and I was wondering if any of you out there can help me out with this piece of information. One of my MC's had ran away from home due to the abuse (physical and verbal) from his uncle, he stayed away for some months but was apprehended by the police and eventually taken back. This happened when he was 13-14. He is currently 16. What repercussions would this have on him legally?

DrDLN
08-01-2018, 12:22 AM
This is legal question and you may have to ask an attorney for dependable info....

frimble3
08-01-2018, 12:29 AM
Did he commit any crimes while he was gone? If not, I can't see why there would be repercussions, unless he hit an officer while being apprehended.
Or, he reported the abuse, and his family blames him for them getting into trouble.
But, the laws vary by where this is set, so, yes, IANAL, and you probably need one for correct advice.

Greene_Hesperide1990
08-01-2018, 06:18 AM
Oh, thank you both. But by what I'm gathering as long as no crimes were committed there won't be any legal consequences, anything put on record or anything. The only thing I could think of that might give some issue to the MC is that he stole often for food.

cornflake
08-01-2018, 06:27 AM
Oh, thank you both. But by what I'm gathering as long as no crimes were committed there won't be any legal consequences, anything put on record or anything. The only thing I could think of that might give some issue to the MC is that he stole often for food.

Was he caught?

Running away isn't illegal.

Greene_Hesperide1990
08-01-2018, 06:45 AM
The running away is minutely talked about in story, and my MC's time away helps contribute to a major point in the story. I was just wondering if there's more that I need to show. Like I just looked up that it's legal in some states and illegal in others. He ran away to Chicago. But he's originally from NJ. I must have watched a documentary years ago and I swore that one of the kids was thrown in juvie because he ran away.

DarienW
08-01-2018, 07:13 AM
I don't know like others about where your story is set and what the laws are there, but unless there's been something major, even being arrested as a minor gets sealed, so I don't think there would be repercussions.

Hope that helps,

:)

MaeZe
08-01-2018, 11:27 AM
I did that, ran away somewhere around 13 or 14. Got clear across the country before a parent of the guy I was with's friend turned us in.

They made me go to counseling. It was court ordered because the courts are involved if the cops get involved. That was the only thing that happened. Except my parents were pissed of course.

jclarkdawe
08-01-2018, 03:45 PM
I represented quite a few runaways. Legal consequences vary a lot. Kid could be returned home or placed in a shelter. Kid would have a JSO (probation officer for kids -- Juvenile Services Officer -- title varies from state to state) and might be required to report every week. Counseling is a given. Orders that the uncle can't visit the house are possible.

This is all assuming that the kid is not on drugs and did not commit serious crimes while a runaway.

This is all done under seal.

What does your story need? When I was appointed to a runaway case I never knew where they would go.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Greene_Hesperide1990
08-01-2018, 04:36 PM
I don't know like others about where your story is set and what the laws are there, but unless there's been something major, even being arrested as a minor gets sealed, so I don't think there would be repercussions.

Hope that helps,

:)

Yes it certainly helps. It takes place in like a alternate version of today where the superhuman gene has recently been discovered by a select few, so the laws are more or less than same.


I did that, ran away somewhere around 13 or 14. Got clear across the country before a parent of the guy I was with's friend turned us in.

They made me go to counseling. It was court ordered because the courts are involved if the cops get involved. That was the only thing that happened. Except my parents were pissed of course.

Oh wow, half way across the country? What made you do that if you don't mind me asking. And if the police are involved then there's a court ordered counseling session. How long did you have to do that?


I represented quite a few runaways. Legal consequences vary a lot. Kid could be returned home or placed in a shelter. Kid would have a JSO (probation officer for kids -- Juvenile Services Officer -- title varies from state to state) and might be required to report every week. Counseling is a given. Orders that the uncle can't visit the house are possible.

This is all assuming that the kid is not on drugs and did not commit serious crimes while a runaway.

This is all done under seal.

What does your story need? When I was appointed to a runaway case I never knew where they would go.

Jim Clark-Dawe

The probation officer is what I had in my mind. My character dealt with abuse at home. His powers kicked in and he fought his uncle. He ran away all the way to Chicago, just by chance not anything particularly and then joined this posse of thieves and con-artists for some months before they betrayed him. He was found by the cops and returned home. This really just serves as back story more so than anything else but I wanted to know if I should have included a probation officer or time in juvie if it was necessary.

Thank you all for the information. This seriously helped a lot.

MaeZe
08-01-2018, 10:51 PM
....Oh wow, half way across the country? What made you do that if you don't mind me asking. And if the police are involved then there's a court ordered counseling session. How long did you have to do that?

I ran away for no reason other than I wanted to. I was young and stupid.

Not half way, all the way. I went from California to NY.

I don't recall how long the counseling was. It was a group I had to go to for a number of weeks. It wasn't all that long and I can't remember anything except most of the kids there were older than me.

Young and stupid. And I got a lot worse until I was 19 and went to college, I became a different person then.

Greene_Hesperide1990
08-01-2018, 11:33 PM
I ran away for no reason other than I wanted to. I was young and stupid.

Not half way, all the way. I went from California to NY.

I don't recall how long the counseling was. It was a group I had to go to for a number of weeks. It wasn't all that long and I can't remember anything except most of the kids there were older than me.

Young and stupid. And I got a lot worse until I was 19 and went to college, I became a different person then.

Wow, I mean you took a cross country road trip. I considered running away so many times when I was younger but I made it to the door with a backpack of stuff before I realized I couldn't make it out there. But I'm glad that you became who you are now. You're here.

jclarkdawe
08-02-2018, 03:00 AM
joined this posse of thieves and con-artists for some months before they betrayed him. He was found by the cops and returned home.

There's not enough here to determine how much of a complication this is. Ranges from minor to major, depending upon a bunch of factors. But this would definitely factor into what happens to him.

Jim Clark-Dawe

MaeZe
08-02-2018, 04:38 AM
Wow, I mean you took a cross country road trip. I considered running away so many times when I was younger but I made it to the door with a backpack of stuff before I realized I couldn't make it out there. But I'm glad that you became who you are now. You're here.

A year earlier when I was even more stupid, my girlfriend and I snuck out our windows and with a bag of groceries we were going to walk down the riverbed to the beach and then head south to Mexico. A police officer patrolling the riverbed saw us, picked us up and instead of turning us in he drove us home to crawl back in through our windows.

This is what the riverbed looks like. (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Los_Angeles_River_channelized.jpg) It was only a couple blocks from my house. It was a very long way to the beach.


[side track] Dang that brings back memories. We used to play in that river bed, tell each other what we'd do if a flash flood came. And I used to catch pollywogs and take them home to put them in little pond I'd make with sand and a tiny fence around it. They'd grow into frogs and then get big enough to climb over the little fence and disappear.

Kids would ride bikes up the sides, I was never brave enough. A few years later we'd sit under the bridge and kiss boys, too young to do more than that. [/side track] Thank you for indulging me.

frimble3
08-02-2018, 10:24 AM
I've seen that L.A. concrete river in movies and on T.V., and never thought about people using it as a 'real' river - playing it, etc. I assumed it was just a flood spillway or such. I never would have thought it would have polliwogs and frogs.
Thank your for that insight into a place I'll never see.

Greene_Hesperide1990
08-02-2018, 08:49 PM
There's not enough here to determine how much of a complication this is. Ranges from minor to major, depending upon a bunch of factors. But this would definitely factor into what happens to him.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Hmm. The thing is that his thefts and con acts wouldn't have been found out, so when he's taken in by the cops all they know is that he ran away. I am thinking about it this scenario: what if he was caught stealing something (after his group betrayed him) like some food from a grocery store and then taken by the cops who then find out he's a runaway? Would that provide anything?


A year earlier when I was even more stupid, my girlfriend and I snuck out our windows and with a bag of groceries we were going to walk down the riverbed to the beach and then head south to Mexico. A police officer patrolling the riverbed saw us, picked us up and instead of turning us in he drove us home to crawl back in through our windows.

This is what the riverbed looks like. (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Los_Angeles_River_channelized.jpg) It was only a couple blocks from my house. It was a very long way to the beach.


[side track] Dang that brings back memories. We used to play in that river bed, tell each other what we'd do if a flash flood came. And I used to catch pollywogs and take them home to put them in little pond I'd make with sand and a tiny fence around it. They'd grow into frogs and then get big enough to climb over the little fence and disappear.

Kids would ride bikes up the sides, I was never brave enough. A few years later we'd sit under the bridge and kiss boys, too young to do more than that. [/side track] Thank you for indulging me.

Wow, you were way more adventurous then I was as a kid. I think there's a song lyric that best describe my time as a kid. All those days we planned a swift getaway/without knowing a life pass the yards /And ladies laughs lit up like a city hall/knowing that we wouldn't get very far.

But concerning your youth, it's definitely something to look back on, you know? The memories. It's funny because the only time I can think of stuff like what you did is through stories so thank you for sharing.


I've seen that L.A. concrete river in movies and on T.V., and never thought about people using it as a 'real' river - playing it, etc. I assumed it was just a flood spillway or such. I never would have thought it would have polliwogs and frogs.
Thank your for that insight into a place I'll never see.

Yeah I was going to say the same. Sometimes people telling me is the only way I will know until I go there myself. And who knows when that will be lol.

jclarkdawe
08-04-2018, 04:08 AM
Hmm. The thing is that his thefts and con acts wouldn't have been found out, so when he's taken in by the cops all they know is that he ran away. I am thinking about it this scenario: what if he was caught stealing something (after his group betrayed him) like some food from a grocery store and then taken by the cops who then find out he's a runaway? Would that provide anything?

Lots of variables here, and a lot depends upon your character. But a lot of times when kids are caught the police ask what they've been doing. Gangs tend to use kids for various purposes and now we've got sex trafficking as well. Sometimes the kids talk, sometimes they don't.

Definitely a factor here is your kid has been betrayed. So how is he feeling towards his former gang? Does he want to get back at them? As I said, this depends a lot upon your character.

If he's caught shoplifting, he's going to face some charge. Police could decide to make it go away if he's leaving the jurisdiction. But the police are going to expect that he's been doing a lot more shoplifting or why is he doing it now. This leads to a whole lot more questions depending upon how he answers the first one.

You know your character. He gets popped by the cops for shoplifting. What would he do? Remember this has to be consistent with your character and not what is most convenient to you, the writer.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Blinkk
08-04-2018, 08:39 PM
Hmm. The thing is that his thefts and con acts wouldn't have been found out, so when he's taken in by the cops all they know is that he ran away. I am thinking about it this scenario: what if he was caught stealing something (after his group betrayed him) like some food from a grocery store and then taken by the cops who then find out he's a runaway? Would that provide anything?

I volunteer at an emergency children's shelter. This is the place kids are sent while CPS organizes another living situation for them. Some of the older kids run away from the shelter. We are legally not allowed to stop them. However, we send a therapist out to walk alongside them and talk to them as the teen is walking to the bus stop. The therapist always gives them a bus ticket back to the shelter, but isn't allowed to legally prevent them from leaving (unless there is evidence they'll hurt themselves or someone else).

I know it's not quite the same as what you're asking, but in my area in CA, that's how run aways are handled. Unless violence or a crime comes into play, running away is not illegal.

I imagine your MC would not give any hints or evidence that he's been doing something illegal. In my state, if a kid ran away for months like that, there wouldn't automatically be legal actions. However, if a child was gone for months, a CPS case might be opened and someone would start investigating the family to look for signs of abuse. I'm speculating here...sometimes the kids are just returned and no questions are asked. (Sidenote: Our shelter is an advocate for opening cases to investigate family situations - not for the goal of taking kids away - our shelter wants to identify an issue before it becomes a life altering ordeal. We do a lot of guidance and re-education for at risk parents. Prevention, not separation.)

But yes, if he was caught stealing while being a runaway, that would instigate legal action.

btw, are you trying to get your MC into juvie? Or just trying to force him to return home? I'm not sure what your end goal is, but if a cop saw a young kid stealing and the kid also had lots of bruises or wounds, the cop would press extra hard on that kid to try and find out what the situation is.

mewellsmfu
08-06-2018, 03:55 AM
Back in the dark ages when I policed, we transported shoplifters for merchants and processed them into the system while the merchant obtained the warrant. It was a misdemeanor committed out of our presence, so we basically executed the warrant and put them in jail. We didn't go to court unless we'd added an assault charge, as in when we had to fight to get the handcuffs on or something similar.

Some merchants always prosecuted shoplifters, but we found that often the smaller, more local stores would be less inclined to go that route. And we were not excited about arresting someone who was clearly hungry with stealing food. Many times we could talk the merchant into not prosecuting if the food was paid for and the person promised never to come back. We did this out of our own pockets. In one instance I remember a young mother stealing cereal and milk for her kids to eat breakfast. She was completely broke and had nothing to feed her kids. Officer bought her some bread and sandwich stuff, too. She was lucky because the merchant preferred the money to having to deal with court.

In the case of hungry children, our chief didn't really give a damn about what the merchant thought. He would have us pick the kid up, make sure he or she was fed and hand them over to the juvenile division so they could figure out how to make sure the kid was off the streets and safe. He'd tell us to tell the merchant if they didn't like it to call him.

This might sound like I'm trying to paint us all as St. Francis, but we also had our fair share of rule sticklers. Most of us, though, we more inclined to use officer discretion when it came to things like just being hungry. And, honestly, it was easier and less paperwork to feed someone than to haul them in.

Despite the bad press police get, you'd be hard-pressed not to find a cop that hasn't helped someone out because it was the right thing to do. Most public service employees are that way: cops, firefighters, probation and parole officers, social workers, teachers. Feeding a kid on the streets was kind of a no-brainer and I've seen acts of spectacular kindness on a routine basis by people in all of those professions.

So, if your story demands a kid steal food, but not end up with a record, it was entirely possible for that to happen with my department, which wasn't rinky-dink by any means. We were encouraged to think of what best-served society in the long run.

Jim Clark-Dawe speaks to those who ended up charged in the system, but a lot of kids never ended up in the system because they weren't charged, at least in my jurisdiction.

jclarkdawe
08-06-2018, 06:45 AM
Jim Clark-Dawe speaks to those who ended up charged in the system, but a lot of kids never ended up in the system because they weren't charged, at least in my jurisdiction.

Actually maybe the better way of saying this is I dealt with kids that had an open runaway file when a police officer ran the kid's name through the computer. A misdemeanor theft charge is a good way to hold someone. I was definitely thinking about runaways caught in the big cities, as that scenario seems more likely with the original question.

Complicating this issue these days there's a bunch of homeless kids. Further, not all parents report their kids as runaways. Nor are all school districts good at noticing when kids go missing.

A lot of cops do really good with kids in trouble. It's nice when police departments give their officers some room to maneuver. It usually ends up a lot better than the system's answer.

Jim Clark0Dawe

Greene_Hesperide1990
08-06-2018, 08:58 PM
You know your character. He gets popped by the cops for shoplifting. What would he do? Remember this has to be consistent with your character and not what is most convenient to you, the writer.

Jim Clark-Dawe

There's a lot of variables that I'm thinking about now. Originally he was just going to runaway, join the gang (like an unofficial gang since all they did were street scams, and con acts), get dumped by them because he outlived his use, then he gets found by the cops. They bring him back home, and he now with super strength lives with his uncle and aunt, now with his developed super strength. Now my MC is the kind of kid who feels as though no one can help him but himself. This is the deck he was given so he'll make do with it which changes in the course of the story. But overall I think I just need to really get the major details of his backstory cemented, because the running away is key to the story.




btw, are you trying to get your MC into juvie? Or just trying to force him to return home? I'm not sure what your end goal is, but if a cop saw a young kid stealing and the kid also had lots of bruises or wounds, the cop would press extra hard on that kid to try and find out what the situation is.

Oh I was seeing if he should have been in juvie over what happened. I'm reworking a story I wrote a decade ago, when I didn't know as much as I do now. The story starts with him getting in trouble for abusing his powers but a deal with the FBI and a Bruce Wayne like figure (wealth and status wise) helps put him with community service with the figure's organization that's finding other superhumans. The running away plays a role in that he unknowingly wound up "joining" the antagonist of the story.




So, if your story demands a kid steal food, but not end up with a record, it was entirely possible for that to happen with my department, which wasn't rinky-dink by any means. We were encouraged to think of what best-served society in the long run.


Thank you so much for the insight. After the information that everyone has given me. I can go either which way with his character. By what you've said you also given me another angle for his story to go. I just wanted to make sure that I covered everything. I mean its a speculative fiction that has a basis in superhumans eventually being discovered but I wanted to be realistic as well.


Seriously though, thank you three for what you've contributed! :)

mewellsmfu
08-06-2018, 10:58 PM
Very good insight, Jim C-D. Also, there are so many foster kids out there, unaccounted for, who've run away or have become victims, that it's appalling. Some state systems have hundreds of kids they can't find. It's heartbreaking.

And yes, we were very lucky to have a progressive, compassionate and strong leader at the helm. Over the years, subsequent administrations have carried the department forward in the same manner. The agency is well-known, well-liked in the community and led by visionaries. I'm very proud of it.