Children will be children, but they are still bound by the law. Unfortunately, children and teenagers sometimes fail to recognize the difference between harmless fun and breaking the law. This is why parental guidance is needed to help them avoid the long-term consequences of a childhood or adolescence mistake.
If you are a parent, you probably dread the day that you receive a call with the police on the line, informing you that your son or daughter is in trouble with the law. If you are like most parents, it can be easy to assume that your child can never get in trouble with the law, but the possibility of it actually happens still exists.
In 2016, it was reported that over 850,000 juveniles under age 18 were arrested for crimes ranging from aggravated assault and burglary to vandalism and disorderly conduct. If you find yourself having to deal with this dreaded phone call, you need to follow the tips provided below to ensure that the situation does not become worse.
Try Staying Calm
While you will probably feel a whirlwind of emotions after getting this phone calls, one of the most important things you should try doing is to remain calm. Your emotions might range from disbelief to sadness and even anger. The first thing you need to do is ensure that you stay calm, no matter how hard it is for you.
If you have/need to cry, you should only do that when you are off the phone with law enforcement officers. The job of the officers is to inform you of the arrest and cannot spend too much time on the phone while you manage your emotions. You need to let out your emotions in a safe, private space before making the decision regarding the next course of action.
Know Your & Your Child’s Rights
Once you receive the call informing you of your child’s arrest, your first instinct will probably be to head over to the police station to find out how you can help your child. Some states will require a guardian or parent present in the room while a minor is being questioned after being arrested, but most states don’t actually require this. In most instances, it is the discretion of the station whether to allow you into the room or not.
The most important rights during this time are those of your child. Your child is entitled to know the charges that he/she is facing. He/she is also entitled to a phone call that’s usually limited to just a single call to a person of their choosing. When in court, the child can choose whether or not to testify in their own case and avoid self-incrimination. Like adults, charges have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt for the child to be found guilty of a crime.
Listen to Your Child’s Account of Events
Law enforcement officers or school administrators will give you an account of the incident in question, but it is still important to talk to your child and ask him/her directly about what happened. Getting your child’s side of the story is important to help you understand better what happened and why your child acted as he/she did. Approach this conversation calmly and assure the child that you are there to help.
Ask for Help
It is a discussion that should happen before such a situation arises. Sit down with your child and tell them that the first thing they should say if they are ever arrested is “I want to talk to my lawyer”. Once the words are spoken, law enforcement officers are required by law to cease questioning until an attorney is present.
Asking for a lawyer immediately such as Deanhineslawyer.com is important because whatever the child says before exercising his/her Miranda rights may be admissible in court. While you might assume that you are best placed to make decisions affecting your child because you are the parent, a lawyer is the only one that can help your child properly. It is his/her job to offer any necessary assistance to the best of their ability.
The court will appoint an attorney to represent your child if he/she is ever charged with a crime. It is important for both you and your child to understand that you are not obligated to accept the court-appointed attorney. Both you and your child have the right to hire your own private counsel.
It is important not to hire an attorney because you an unsure of what to do. Consult a lawyer that’s experienced with the juvenile court system, since there are substantial differences in how children and adults are charged for crimes.
It is also important not to assume that you can represent your child in court just because you are a responsible adult. Proper legal counsel is critical to preventing juvenile charges from holding back your child throughout his/her adulthood.
Understand All Possible Outcomes
It is important for you, your child, and your entire family at large to get educated about the crimes that your child is being accused of and the possible consequences of these crimes. Besides talking to your lawyer, it is important to do some research online and seek resources from local courts to learn more about the charges that your child faces.
The legal process can follow your child for his/her lifetime if you are not careful. Just because a minor has been convicted of a crime, it doesn’t necessarily mean that his/her criminal record is cleared once they turn 18. It is important to seek legal guidance if your child is in trouble with the law to avoid the consequences of his/her juvenile mistakes.
Hearing that your child is in trouble with the law can be overwhelming, but with the right legal representation, things don’t have to be so bad. If your child is in legal trouble, follow the tips/steps provided here. Remember that the lawyer you hire will inform you of the options available and provide real solutions to the obstacles and struggles that you and your child are facing. You may visit here for more information.
Article Submitted By Community Writer