What to do when your teen is arrestedAccording to the ACLU, there could be as many as 60,000 teens under the age of eighteen who are incarcerated at any given time. The reason behind arrests is varied. Whether your teen has been arrested for a driving violation, for public intoxication, or something else entirely, the idea of them being a part of that statistic can be unsettling.
Talk with your teen before things get out of handWhile it can be hard to think about a future where your child will get himself into a situation where he gets arrested, it’s still important to have those important conversations. Getting arrested, no matter the confidence levels and personality of your teen, is going to likely leave him feeling overwhelmed and possibly a little bit scared. However, if you’ve previously spoken to him about what he needs to do if he gets arrested, he will feel empowered to make the right decisions until you get to him. Things to discuss with your teen before they are arrested:
- Tell him not to make a statement.
- He needs to ask for the police to call you when he is arrested.
- Remind him not to react with anger or defiance.
Should you consider legal counsel?In some situations, seeking legal counsel should be the first step if your teen has been arrested. While television shows and movies often get many things about the law wrong, it is true that if you ask for a lawyer, the police need to stop asking questions. This is particularly true if the individual is underage. Beyond that, legal counsel can also offer you and your teen guidance about what the next steps should be. In situations that may become complicated, you cannot face legal proceedings without a lawyer. The lawyer will be able to help to prepare your teen for any interview with law enforcement, and for any court dates that they may have. You shouldn’t try to navigate complicated legal proceedings with your teen without the guidance of a lawyer. If your teen has been arrested for something like a curfew violation or truancy, legal counsel may not be needed. Quite often, these are “slap on the wrist” type warnings or a small fine. If you cannot afford an attorney, most will offer a free consultation that may prove helpful. There is also the option of a public defender, which will not cost you anything. Your teen may not get as much personal attention with a public defender as he would with a private lawyer, but they may be necessary depending on the circumstances.
What to expect when your teen is arrestedLaws can vary across city, county, and state lines. The way that your teen was arrested will have an impact on if or how he is charged. The arresting office could issue a warning and then release your teen into your custody. They could also issue a citation, requiring your teen to go to court and appear in front of a judge. What happens when your teen is arrested and what takes place next will largely depend on three primary factors:
- 1. The nature of the crime that was committed.
- 2. The severity of the crime.
- 3. Whether the teen already has an arrest record.