Having children brings many wonderful things. However, it also comes with huge responsibility and fear of what may happen if your child makes poor choices. While initially this may be worrying about them trying to run into the road to chase a ball, the stakes get higher as the years progress. Many adolescents and teens get involved with the wrong people, act out or are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time – any of which can lead to criminal charges. Here are three things you must do if your child is charged with a crime.
1. Take the charges seriously. You may know that your child is really a good kid with a heart of gold, but the courts don’t. What they see are the charges and evidence in front of them. It’s important not to minimize the severity of juvenile crime charges. Depending on the situation, prosecutors may attempt to try your child as an adult, which can carry serious long-term consequences.
2. Understand your child’s rights. It’s important to be aware of your child’s rights as a defendant and your rights as a parent. The police may not inform you of all of your rights or may try to mislead you or your child into cooperating in some way not required by law. For example, officers cannot search a minor without probable cause, and your child must be provided notice of the charges.
3. Talk to a defense attorney. Having an attorney involved is one of the most important things you can do. A criminal defense attorney who has experience dealing with juvenile cases can take immediate action to possibly get your child released from police custody. An attorney may also be able to start the process of getting the charges reduced or dropped.
While it’s normal to want to take control of the situation and protect your child, the reality is that there is very little you can do to help your child legally. Once a defense attorney is involved, you will be free to provide your child with the emotional support he will need throughout the process. If your child has been charged with a crime or you have questions about what you should do if your child is arrested, call us to schedule an initial consultation to talk more about your situation and options.