As a parent or guardian, finding out that your child has gotten him or herself into trouble with the law can be very distressing. This remains true regardless of whether your child is considered to be a juvenile or not. The consequences of crimes, even those committed by juveniles, can be life altering. Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to protect your child after being charged with a crime.
1. Hire an Attorney
The most important thing that you can do to protect your child is to remain quiet and advise your child to do the same until you hire an attorney. Specifically, you will want to find an attorney who specializes in cases similar to your child's. For example, if he or she is being charged with a criminal offense, having an experienced criminal defense attorney
in such a situation
2. Keep Your Child Out of Further Trouble
Until the case is settled, be sure that you stress the importance of staying out of further trouble to your child. After all, a judge will analyze his or her behavior when it comes to their day in court; a child with a clean record is more likely to be given a break, whereas one with other recent offenses may end up in juvenile detention.
3. Look Into Expungement or Sealing
If your child is convicted, be aware that some states allow certain crimes to be expunged or sealed from a person's record if they were under the age of 21 when it occurred. Be sure to look into your state's specific laws regarding expungement and follow the necessary procedures and processes in order to have your child's case considered. This can prevent him or her from having to live with a criminal record for the rest of his or her life.
4. Let Them Face the Consequences
While you will want to do as much as you can to keep your child from being convicted and to prevent one mistake from impacting the rest of his or her life, the fact remains that, if your child was guilty of the crime, he or she should have to face the consequences. By doing so, he or she will be deterred from breaking the law in the future.
Dealing with having a child who is in legal trouble can be stressful, but there are steps you can take to ensure the best possible outcome for your child's specific situation. Be sure to keep the above tips in mind as you embark on what is sure to be an eye-opening experience for your child.