Three Things You Need To Know If Your Child Is Charged With A Crime

Law Articles

It's every parent's nightmare: getting that one allocated phone call from their city police department or juvenile detention facility and hearing the shaky, frightened voice of their teenager on the other end stating that they'd just been arrested. Even if your child is a star student with a healthy respect for law and order, he or she just might end up on the other end of that telephone call one day, even by virtue of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. You probably already know that in the event of such an occurrence, your first phone call should be to an experienced criminal defense lawyer, but there are other steps you can take as well. Following are three things that you should know in the event that your child is arrested.

You May Not Have the Right to Be Present During Police Questioning

State, county, and municipal laws vary throughout the country, so don't count having the automatic right to be present during police questionings. Although some jurisdictions have enacted legislation allowing parents to choose to be present during law enforcement questioning, it's often left to the discretion of individual police departments and the officers involved. It is never a good idea to assume that you have an automatic right to be present, so resist the temptation to be demanding about what you think your rights may be in this situation. Being polite and respectful to the officers in charge may result in you being allowed to be present during questioning, where you're likely to be excluded if you come across as abrasive, overbearing, or otherwise try to argue with the police.

You Should Resist the Urge to Discuss the Situation With Friends, Neighbors, or Coworkers

Dealing with the fact of your child being arrested and possibly charged with a crime is extremely stressful, and you may find it relieves some of your anxiety by discussing the situation with others. However, always resist the urge to talk about it with coworkers, neighbors, acquaintances, and probably most of your friends. If you've got a best friend or two with whom you share just about everything with, that's one thing, but talking about it with too many different people only increases the likelihood of unpleasant gossip about your child's arrest. However, it's perfectly understandable that you will have a need to release anxiety associated with this issue, so consider joining a support group for parents who are in the same situation. Just knowing that others are going through the same thing that you are can help immensely. If you are unsure of how to locate such a group, your child's criminal defense attorney should be able to point you in the right direction. 

You Should Communicate Clearly and Honestly With Your Child's Attorney

A good criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of the case. Keep in mind that although some juvenile records will be expunged once the child reaches the age of 18, others may haunt them for the rest of their lives and may make it difficult for them to obtain employment. Good communication with the attorney on your part can go a long way toward a positive resolution that won't leave your child with a disadvantage as he or she moves on with life. Be as forthcoming as possible about any conditions such as learning disabilities or mental health issues that your child may have -- judges will take these into consideration when imposing sentences. Also, let the lawyer know about any achievements or community involvement that your child may have -- judges will also look more favorably on those who've demonstrated that they're overall good citizens. 

Contact a law firm like Hazlett & Pedemonte to learn more about criminal law proceedings.


5 June 2017