It is not uncommon for teens to make mistakes and put themselves on a collision course with the law. If your teen has been arrested, the first step you should take is to stay calm. However, you might be wondering what you should do to get your child out of police custody? What are the best steps to take to expedite the process?
The first thing is to ensure you understand why they have been arrested, so you can have useful information to build your strategy. Below, we have provided six simple tips to help you get around the problem in a seamless and hassle-free fashion:
- Stay calm
News that your teen has been arrested can be overwhelming and inconveniencing, especially if you didn’t see it coming. The information can take a toll on your efficiency and productivity at work. However, your son or daughter being in custody doesn’t mean they are guilty; that alone should give you peace of mind. The best thing to do is remain hopeful and start preparing for your next move, which is to arm yourself with an attorney.
- Seek legal representation
A lawyer is not always needed, but if your teen is facing significant charges or you suspect malice from the police, representation might be necessary. Remember, it is your constitutional right to ask for legal representation, and your teen can legally reject interrogation until their lawyer arrives. If you don’t have a family lawyer, consider seeking the services of someone who has a nodding acquaintance with the juvenile court system. An established law firm such as Puget Law Group has the resources, personnel, and connections to conduct independent investigations and represent your son or daughter in a juvenile court.
- Be respectful
Seeing your child get arrested or harassed by the police can be provoking, but this shouldn’t elicit anger from you. Some of the things you say to the police in the heat of the moment might be used against you and your child, potentially contributing to the problem at hand. Brace for any outcome, even if you believe your teen isn’t capable of committing the crimes they are charged with.
- Do not play lawyer
As a parent, it is understandable to be upset with your child or the police after an arrest. However, it is wise to keep your emotions in check and avoid overstepping your boundaries when interacting with the police. A good parent or guardian should understand that their child is under investigation for a crime, and there are protocols that need to be followed. Note that some states allow parents to be involved in the case, while others only deal with the child’s legal representation. If you are not familiar with juvenile crime, it is best to use a lawyer as a go-between. Otherwise, you may end up hurting your child’s case and inviting trouble to yourself.
- Cooperate with your teen’s lawyer
Working together with your child’s lawyer can help them get the information they need faster and speed up the court process if it gets there. Your involvement will particularly come in handy if your child is unwilling to open up to the lawyer — perhaps because they are embarrassed — or information about their physical and mental health is needed. If your teen has a learning disability or mental illness, your lawyer will need to know, as it might help sway the outcome of the case.
- Find documents that will help your child’s case
One of the factors that impact the ruling of a case in a juvenile court is the child’s behavior. If their character is commendable, the judge is likely to be more lenient to them than if they have a history of bad behavior.
That said, lack of proof remains the biggest hurdle in successfully using character as a bargaining chip. You can simplify your lawyer’s work by providing documentation and formal statements that reflect your child’s character. Find as much tangible proof of their achievements as possible. Gather school report cards and contact teachers, sports coaches, church leaders, neighbors, and employers for reference letters. Your attorney will guide you on the right way to obtain these documents and attestation.
Regardless of why your teen has been arrested, it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure they get legal representation, their rights are respected, and they are happy in the end. Your actions will directly impact the course of the case, so make sure to make your decisions with a sober mind and with the help of a seasoned attorney.