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What Parents Can Do if Their Teen is Charged with a Criminal Offense

Acting out is a typical part of being a teen. Some teens, however, take it too far and end up on the wrong side of the law. For parents of difficult teens, a phone call from a police officer is their worst nightmare. So what is a parent to do when their child is charged with a criminal offense?

Understand the Situation

If you are informed that your child has been arrested, make sure you get all of the relevant information. Have they been arrested for a misdemeanor offense or a felony? How much evidence is there that your child is guilty? You might need to do a little research on the laws in your state to find out other relevant information, like whether your child is likely to be charged in juvenile or adult court.

Get a Lawyer

Regardless of the amount of evidence the police have against your child, or how much you think you know about the law, you will want to enlist the services of a lawyer. The outcome of the hearing or trial will likely determine the course of your child’s future. Professionals, like those at Russo Lawyers, know that a lawyer is better equipped to protect your child by appearing with them in court. If your child loses the initial case, they can also help with the appeal process.

Don’t Say Anything Now

A criminal lawyer will recommend that your teen avoid making any statements on the record until after a lawyer has been consulted, and you as the parent should do the same. This prevents you and your teen from saying things that can later be used against you in the courtroom.

Plan to Attend Court Hearings

If your child is charged with a crime, a guardian is expected to appear at every hearing with the minor. If you can’t be present, the court will appoint a guardian in your place. However, this moves the focus of the case from your child’s guilt or innocence and onto why you as the parent cannot come to court. This can lead to a wide range of effects, including even changing custody agreements between divorced parents.

Getting the news that your teen has been charged with a crime can be scary, but there’s no need to panic. Get the facts, get a lawyer, keep quiet, and make plans to be there for your child. They’ll need you.

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