133 Kids and the Law * Assistant district attorneys are also called the “Commonwealth” or “prosecu- tors” because they are the lawyers who represent the government (the Common- wealth of Massachusetts) and prosecute the case. When can the police arrest a child? As noted above, with a few exceptions, a police officer may arrest a child under the same circumstances as an adult. The officer must have probable cause to believe the child has committed one of the following illegal acts: • An act that would be a felony if the child were an adult. • A misdemeanor committed in the officer’s presence that involves a breach of the peace (such as assault and battery). • Certain misdemeanors specified by law. A police officer may also arrest a child named in a warrant (a document issued by a court that allows the arrest of the named person). A police officer can also file an Application for a Delinquent Complaint (see below). What happens following an arrest? 1. Police take the child to the police station. Police should immediately no- tify at least one parent. If there isn’t a parent, the police should notify the child’s guardian or custodian (including the Department of Children and Families if the child is in its custody). If the officer in charge accepts the parent, guardian, or custodian’s written promise to make sure the child ap- pears in court as directed, the child is released to that adult. If the arresting officer requests that a child 14 or older be detained, the officer in charge should notify the parent, guardian, or custodian, and the child should be brought to court. The police also notify probation. 2. If the court is not open, a Bail Commissioner is called to the police station to decide whether to set bail (bail is a sum of money deposited to make sure accused will show up at court) or to release the child to a parent or guardian without posting bail. Even if the child is released without having to post bail, there is a fee that must be paid to the Bail Commissioner. Delinquent Children 11