During your child's first court date (arraignment), the court will order a probation interview. The purpose of the interview is to get background information about your child's life. After conducting the interview, the probation officer will make a recommendation to the court as to what they think the outcome of the case should be, and how your child should be punished.
What types of things will they ask us?
Some of the most important things that probation officer will ask about are school and home life. They will want to know how your child is doing in school - attendance, behavior and grades. They will want to know about any extracurricular activities that he/she is involved in. They will ask whether your child obeys the rules set forth for him/her at home - curfew, chores, etc. They will also ask you other things such as how many people live in the home, what your income is, how much you pay for rent or mortgage, the last time your child went to the doctor or dentist, any mental disorders or physical conditions. There are some more miscellaneous questions, but I've touched upon the major subjects.
Do we need to bring documentation to this interview?
Yes! Bring copies of report cards, recommendation letters, proof that he/she is enrolled in basketball or in the math club. If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) bring proof of this as well, since an IEP may explain some less than average grades or behavior.
When do I get to see a copy of the report?
This report will generally not be made available for viewing until the next court date. It will be given to the judge, the prosecutor, and your child's attorney for review. Your attorney will sit down and discuss with you, the contents of the report and help your child decide how to proceed.
Can my child tell the probation officer his/her side of the story?
No! As always, your child has the right against self incrimination and should not be making any statements, even if they seem harmless, about the facts of the case. In fact your child's attorney should request that the judge order probation not to interview as to the facts of the case. If the probation officer asks about the facts of the case, you and your child should politely let them know that no statements will be made regarding the facts of the case.