It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: getting a phone call from the local police department to let you know your child has been arrested on criminal grounds. There’s the anger, the shame and the feeling that this is somehow your fault. While it’s easy to try to place blame and feel a roller-coaster of emotions, it’s important that your child’s arrest is handled appropriately to ensure a minimal impact on their future and your family.
The First Steps:
Talk To Your Child
Although this will be an emotional conversation, it is important that you remain calm and try to understand their side of the story. Encourage them to be honest with you. Assure them that their honesty, no matter how terrible the situation, will help you to help them. Take notes so you can remember important facts.
Understand The Charges
Your child’s arrest could be for any number of reasons, and there could even be multiple charges on one arrest. Ask for copies of the arrest records and ask the arresting officer for any information they can provide you with. Research your child’s charges so you understand what kind of legal representation, if any, you will require for their case.
Contact Legal Representation
In situations such as these, it’s never a bad idea to consult a defence attorney or legal representation of some sort. Not only can they provide you with further information on the charges and what to expect further down the line, but they can also offer reassurance and options as to what can be done.
According to one Duluth criminal defense attorney, the penalties for a juvenile crime can include community service and/or jail time. An attorney can help to defend your child.
Decide What’s Next
While dealing with the legal ramifications of your kid’s arrest is always the first thing to tackle, it’s easy to forget that there will be emotional fallout from a situation such as this for both you, your child and the rest of your family. It’s important not to ignore the feelings you may be having, and addressing these issues will help keep your family together and functioning during this difficult time.
Hold A Family Meeting
If you have other children, particularly younger children, it may be difficult for them to understand what is going on. They may be frightened by what they hear, or not understand how to process it. It’s important to sit down with your family and explain in simple, honest terms what is happening and reassure them and their fears. Let them know they can ask questions and you are there for them.
Think About Counseling
The arrest of your child has a huge impact on you as a parent, and can bring forth a whirlwind of feelings that may be difficult for you to deal with on your own. Try speaking to a counselor, trusted friend or even look for one of the many support groups available both on and offline. Try to remember that yours is not the first family this has happened to, and there is a wealth of resources available to help keep your family together and on track.
Dealing with the arrest of your child is a difficult bump in the road for any parent. While handling the legal elements of the arrest is of utmost importance, it’s also imperative to ensure the mental health of both you and your family is also cared for. While an arrest is a truly terrible situation, keeping calm and following the steps will ensure a smooth solution.
Researcher Melanie Fleury has four children and hopes that she never has to be in this type of situation but is realistic about the fact that it could happen. Duluth criminal defense attorney Kevin W. Devore represents children that have committed a crime to get them the help that they need. Juvenile law focuses on rehabilitating the offender, not just punishing them.
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