Aboutunder the age of 18 are arrested in the United States each year. But it’s always different when it’s your own child. It’s perfectly understandable to feel upset, angry, or sad when there’s an arrest in the family. As a parent, it’s also your responsibility to help your child when they make mistakes or are unjustly accused.
Here’s what you need to do.
It’s normal to feel upset when the police tell you they’ve arrested your child. But it’s important that you remain calm. Emotions tend to cloud our judgment, which can make it difficult to plan your next steps. The first thing you’ll need to do is hire a criminal defense attorney.
A criminal conviction will have far-reaching effects on your child’s life. For example, a drug conviction will affect your child’s eligibility for housing. It will also affect their ability to get a job and federal student aid.
A criminal attorney will help you and your child better understand any legal consequences.
The age of your child will determine what court will handle their case and whether they’ll be. The state of Michigan considers your child to be an adult at age 17 if they’re charged with a criminal offense.
If your child is age 17 or older, their case goes to either a district or circuit court. If your child is 16 or younger, their case will go to family court.
Keep in mind that each child and case is different. For example, children as young as 11 years old have been tried as adults. But these were for serious crimes, such as murder.
Police don’t need to contact you or get your permission to question your child. But they do have to stop questioning if your child requests a parent or lawyer.
Your child also has the right to remain silent. A parent or lawyer can instruct their child to remain silent if they feel it would be in their best interest.
Depending on the severity of your child’s charges, they may be able to go home with a parent while awaiting trial. If this is the case, you’ll receive instructions in the mail. The letter will tell you when you and your child must appear in court for the initial hearing. If your child is charged with a serious crime, they may be held in custody until the date of their hearing.
If you haven’t already hired a defense attorney by this point, we strongly recommend you do so. A defense lawyer will be able to help your child understand the charges against them. They’ll also help your child understand their rights and what plea to enter. The attorney will help you with your next steps as a parent as well.
Need to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Grand Rapids or Ionia? Call Peterson Paletta Balice to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our legal team will reach out to you soon.