Having a child is a lifetime commitment to being there for them – but sometimes, they test your patience. Teenagers, in particular, can create trouble in places where it doesn’t need to be. Few things bring upon as much anxiety as knowing that your child is in trouble with the law. Even if he or she is just getting questioned, you likely worry about what is happening and what will happen in the future. If it is driving trouble, underage drinking, school pranks, or something even worse, you want to fight for your child.
The best way to help a child is to educate yourself and your child about laws pertaining to the things that teenagers do – driving, going to school, hanging out with friends, and more. There are rules about just about everything – including when it is too early for a child to be outside.
While we all hope that our children will be out from under our roofs if they ever get in trouble, it can happen, so you need to be prepared to help them.
Your child, even if he or she is a good kid, might get into some trouble. Your child could be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but sometimes your child might be the one starting the trouble. Do not excuse behavior as “just acting like a child” or try to make excuses – you are only permitting this behavior in the future.
You need to be an example of the way your children should deal with law enforcement – and if it comes to it, the judicial system. When you are talking to anyone involved in your child’s case, you need to remember the following:
· Be polite and respectful to the police, do not call them names.
· Be calm and do not jump to conclusions.
· You may be asked for information about your child or about yourself – provide it.
· You have a right to ask if you are involved in the case. If you have a question, ask the police officer if you can go. If he or she says yes, you are likely not involved.
It might be hard to work with the police, especially if you feel like your child didn’t do anything wrong. However, if you cooperate, it is likely that the police will work with you and with your child to speed up the process. Remember, the police do not want to ruin anyone’s life.
If a police officer is doing his or her job currently, they should be on no one’s side – they should only be on the side of the law. Police officers will open cases and then try to close them, that is their job. Sometimes they do make mistakes and arrest someone who is innocent.
Police can be extremely intimidating and for many people, can create quite a bit of fear. Sometimes, police may seem like they are using poor tactics to get your child to talk. If you feel like the conversation is out of bounds, you can request to connect your child with a lawyer.
Arik Benari, one of the best criminal lawyers in Delaware County, suggests getting a lawyer as soon as possible: “If an underage loved one has been charged by the police, it is critical that you contact us immediately. The faster we get on top of the investigation and the charges, the better chance we have of finding a way to beat the charge.”
It is extremely important to get a professional involved because being convicted of a crime at a young age may damage your child’s life permanently – it can limit employment opportunities or even hurt access to a college education. Never try to play lawyer on your own. You can listen to your child’s story and try to figure things out for yourself, but you should always work with a professional lawyer.
Some states do require parental consent and/or consultation before questioning; you do not have a federal right to be present during the actual questioning process. Your child has a right to have a lawyer present, however – so hire one if you can. Some departments will allow a parent to be present, especially if you do have a younger child.
While it is in all of our instincts to help our children, sometimes the best thing you can do is allow you, child, to pay for what he or she has done in order to learn a lesson early in life.