We all make mistakes in our youth, but some mistakes can have longer consequences than others. However, a lot of teens and their parents don’t fully understand the true consequences of certain actions until it’s too late. We understand that you are going to be angry and frustrated with your child if they end up in handcuffs, but we can’t stress enough how important it is that you collectively make smart choices in the wake of an arrest or citation. Failing to do so can have lifelong consequences.
There’s no perfect playbook for how to handle the days and weeks after your child has been arrested, but there’s one thing every family should do, and that’s talk to a lawyer. Even if you don’t end up hiring the lawyer to defend your case, you’ll walk out of that meeting with a clearer idea of what your child is facing and how to best go about fighting back against the charges. You probably don’t need a lawyer for a misdemeanor speeding ticket or for a curfew violation, but if they were caught going over 100 miles per hour, found to be vandalizing school property or were accused of sexual assault, you absolutely need a lawyer.
Why A Lawyer Is So Important For Juvenile Crimes
If you get a call that your child has been arrested, you may be thinking that this is a great time to teach them a lesson. While we agree that a message needs to be sent, please don’t do it by forcing them to go through the legal system on their own. They can work on the weekend to pay you back for a lawyer or you can take away their driving privileges until they are 18, but don’t allow your anger to put them in a position where their whole life can be negatively affected. They made the choice that led to their arrest, but they shouldn’t be paying for those mistakes years down the road, and that’s exactly what can happen if they are charged with sexual assault or DUI.
A juvenile arrest for certain crimes can lead to:
- School suspension or expulsion
- Inability to receive federal loans
- Inability to possess a firearm
- Denial or admission revocation from college
- Termination from their job
- Inability to apply for or be hired for certain jobs
- Loss of driving privileges
- Significant fines
- Jail time
A few hours at the police station and a fine of a couple hundred dollars will certainly help hammer home the message that their actions were unacceptable, but please consider the potential long term effects of the arrest. You don’t want your child to be denied admission into their dream college or be passed over for that promotion later in life because they had a drug charge or DUI on their record. Sit down with an attorney, talk about the full scope of the charges and the potential fallout, and make a plan for how to proceed.
When it comes to policing your home, it’s completely up to you, but please at least take a first visit with a lawyer if your child faces criminal charges. At a minimum, you’ll walk away feeling more prepared for what’s ahead. At best, we can help fight the charges and get them severely reduced or dropped, saving you time, money and countless long-term repercussions. Don’t assume that the court system will go easy on them just because they are young. Plan an active defense and let us go to battle for your child. For more information about how we can help your family, reach out to Brett Appelman and the team at Appelman & Lloyd today.