What To Do If Your Child Gets Arrested

When your child gets arrested you may have no idea as to what will happen. If your child is a minor, things generally are handled differently than if your child has reached their majority. 

Do Not Let Them Speak to the Police Alone

If your child is under the age of 18, they can't be questioned without a representative present. That means that you can sit in on any questioning. You also have the right to tell your child to be quiet. However, you should also have a criminal defense attorney in the room with you. Your child has the right to have a lawyer represent them while they are being questioned, just as anyone does. The lawyer can help prevent your child from being inappropriately questioned. 

Seek Alternatives

If your child has been arrested and charged, you should see if there are any alternatives or diversions that your child can participate in, especially if it is their first offense and it was a non-violent offense. 

For example, if your child was arrested and charged with shoplifting, they may be able to go through a sentencing alternative. That could include a program that they do at home and then submit proof that they finished it. That proof could be a test that needed to be submitted to an outside agency. Once the courts have proof that your child has successfully passed the program, they may arrange for your child's record to be completely expunged after a certain amount of time, if the child stays out of trouble. 

Formal Proceedings

If it gets to the point that your child has to appear in court, that's called formal proceedings. Your child will start out in the juvenile court system. When they see the judge, the judge may decide that they can stay in the juvenile court, or they may send your child to the adult court system. That will generally happen if your child is near their age of majority, if their crime was particularly violent, or if they have a long history of criminal activities. 

You do everything that you can for your child. If something happens and they get arrested, then you need to do everything that you can to protect them. That means that you need to find a lawyer who specializes in juvenile cases. They will know all the options open to you and they will help your child get the help they need. 

To learn more, contact a law firm like Cross, LaCross, & Murphy PLLC