It’s a phone call that no one parent wants to receive, but unfortunately, it happens. Teenagers sometimes they make impulsive decisions that get them in trouble with the law. If you ever find yourself on the receiving end of a phone call informing you that your child has been arrested, here are the top things you should do.
While finding out that your child has been arrested is upsetting, it’s important not to let your emotions get the better of you. You will be able to deal with the situation more effectively if stay calm. Don’t jump to conclusions about the arresting officers or your child.
Find out the severity of the situation so that you know how to proceed from there. Find out which station your child is being held at and proceed to that station. When you arrive, don’t argue with the police officers, even if you think that the arrest was unjustified. It’s the officers’ job to uphold the law, and antagonizing the officers for doing their job won’t help your child.
Some departments may be more understanding about teen behavior depending on the severity of the situation, but yelling at them won’t elicit a compassionate response.
Hire a Lawyer
It is in the best interest of you and your child to hire a lawyer. Don’t try to act as your child’s lawyer in lieu of professional legal counsel. You’re likely to be angry at your child, and it would be unwise to do anything that would make your child incriminate his or herself.
It’s best to wait until a lawyer is present before saying anything to the police. Having someone present who knows the laws and how to navigate the legal system will better protect your child than you could do on your own.
Ideally, find a lawyer who specialises in juvenile cases, or who has experience with them. Remember that the lawyer you hire is there to help your child, and to do that you need to share any pertinent information you have as soon as possible so that the lawyer can help your child to the fullest of their abilities.
Research the Laws
If your child has never been arrested before, it’s unlikely that you’d be familiar with the laws and procedures regarding juvenile court. Research you child’s rights to legal counsel, probable cause, self-incrimination and release. Also, research your own rights as a parent. Find out if you can be present during questioning.
Make certain your child is also aware of his or her rights. Tell them only to speak to the police when a lawyer is present, and to request a lawyer if the police try to question them without one. Explain that police officers are allowed to lie and make it seem like they know more than they do in order to get a confession. Make sure that your child understands that anything they say can be used in court against them.
It’s upsetting and traumatic to have your child arrested, and it’s going to take you time to work through it. Remember that your child is also going through a traumatic experience, and they’re most likely scared. When you speak to your child about the situation, don’t underplay the seriousness of what’s happened, but do reassure your child that you love them and that you are looking out for them.
Let them know that they are not alone. Consider what decisions led up to the arrest. If drugs were involved, consider taking your child to see a drug counselor. If some sort of mental stress is making your child act out, consider a therapy or counseling. By addressing the root issues that led to the arrest, you can help prevent further trouble with the law in the future.
Finally, in order to be supportive of your child, take care of yourself. It is difficult to see your child in a new, unflattering way. Seek out a support group or a counselor who can help you process your emotions so that you can deal with the situation with a level head.
When your child is arrested, it’s normal to feel angry, afraid, and overwhelmed. Remember to stay calm, seek out legal counsel, research the laws affecting your child, and be supportive to handle the situation most effectively.
Author: Lucy Taylor is an experienced law expert working at LY Lawyers specializing in both criminal law and traffic offences. Lucy is also a great fan of self-improvement and self-growth, believing they hold the key to success in any career.