Getting a phone call from the police informing you that your teenager was arrested can be a stressful and scary experience. As parents, we all want our children to grow up as law-abiding citizens, but several factors can make a good kid show their bad side. If ever you need to face this undesirable situation, here are some things you need to remember.
Keep your emotions in check
While it may be tempting to lash out at your child, this is not the time to do that. Set aside your emotions and let your rational side take over. Do not lose control, especially in front of your child. Remember that they need you to be strong to ensure that their rights are protected. Refrain from using derogatory words and keep your composure. While talking to the police, be respectful and cooperative as you can. You should also never jump to conclusions and assume that your child is innocent.
After getting the phone call, you should head to the police station immediately. Get as much information as you can. Try to talk to your child but remember that your rights as a parent are limited. You may speak to your child briefly, but you have no federal right to be present when they are being questioned. The rules vary by state, and it is usually at the police officer’s discretion whether they will allow you to be present.
Educate your child
If you can talk to your kid before they are interviewed, educate them on the basics.
- Be polite and do not yell or threaten the police officer
- Answer basic questions such as your name, address, parents’ names, and phone number
- Ensure that your child knows that they can request to speak to his lawyer before talking to the police
- Do not lie or provide an offhanded answer
- Try not to be intimidated by the questioning police officer
- Remind your child that whatever they say may be used against them, so they shouldn’t speak to the police without their lawyer present
Gather supporting documents
Unless advised otherwise by your child’s attorney, try to collect documentation that can attest to their character. These documents may be beneficial, especially if their case ends up in court. Gather their report cards, certificates of their achievements, and any records that can testify that they acted out of character. If possible, get character reference letters from their teachers, neighbors, church members, or anyone who can help with his case.
Never act as your child’s lawyer
You should never act as your child’s attorney. Some parents inadvertently waive their chids’ rights and sometimes pressure them to say something incriminating. Even if you believe that your child is innocent, never force them to confess to anything. The best thing you can do for your child is to get professional help. If you live in Florida, make sure to contact a Tampa criminal defense lawyer right away.
Dealing with your child getting arrested can be quite an ordeal. You must stay calm and seek legal help immediately so that you can resolve this situation in the best possible way.