What Happens If My Child Commits a Crime?
Itâ€™s a parentâ€™s worst nightmare: They get a call from the police, telling them that their child has committed a crime and is being charged or held in jail. These situations are absolutely devastating for families. Parents may wonder where they went wrong or feel that their child is unfairly accused. They may worry that a mistake or problem at a young age might affect their childâ€™s life permanently.
If you find yourself in this situation, there are several things you will want to do:
1) Contact an attorney.
The first thing you will want to do â€” and fast â€” is contact an attorney with experience in juvenile defense. Juvenile justice and the court system for adults are two very different things, so look for experience.
The sooner you can make that call, the better. An attorney can take action right away to start protecting your child and examining the evidence. You do not want to talk to the police or anyone else before you have spoken to an attorney. You also donâ€™t want your child speaking to anyone before they are represented.
Unfortunately, authorities sometimes use the fact that children are scared after an arrest to get them to talk. Your child might not understand that they have the right to remain silent. An attorney can address those issues.
2) Seek help for your child.
Before talking to your doctor, or seeking counseling or therapy for your child, talk to your attorney first. However, if your attorney okays it, get treatment for your child. If your child is depressed, suffering from mental health conditions, or has become involved in gangs or drugs, getting treatment is important to help them overcome the problem. Treatment can help prevent further charges in the future.
3) Be there for your child.
Your child may be scared that you wonâ€™t care for them or worried about being â€śin trouble.â€ť They will need love and support.
4) Get counseling or help yourself.
Again, talk to your attorney first. If your attorney agrees, get therapy or counseling. You may be under a lot of pressure and stress â€” getting assistance can help you.
5) Take care of your family.
You may need to take more time to help your childâ€™s siblings, your spouse and other members of your family. This is a time to pull together and be kind to one another.
6) Think about your childâ€™s future.
A criminal record can affect your childâ€™s ability to get a job or apartment later on. It can prevent them from getting a quality education and leading a full life. If your child has to spend time outside of school, make sure they can still get an education. Talk to your attorney about getting your childâ€™s record expunged so your child can still have the best future possible.