You know by now that your child isn’t an angel, right? Parents should be wise enough to understand that their child is capable of wrongdoing. Of course, even then it’s a bit of a shock to find that it’s gone as far as being apprehended by the police.
So what do you do if your child has been arrested? Here’s a guide to things you should do or keep in mind if you find yourself in this situation. First, make sure you’re clued in about arrest rights at americanbar.org.
Don’t make assumptions
If you get the call that your child has been detained, don’t assume they either did it or didn’t. The information that the police relay to you may not be the entire truth. If it’s explained to you that your child was caught in the act of something, don’t start proclaiming their innocence. Likewise, don’t just assume that you’re being told 100% accurate information. If you can get into contact with your child, simply ask them what happened. Even then, you may not want to make strong assumptions either way. You aren’t as required to be involved in this process as you may think.
You have no federal right to be there
Some states do require a parent to be around for certain steps of the proceedings if the arrested is a minor. However, you don’t actually have a federal right to be around for the questioning. Just like you, your child has a right to have a lawyer present. But they don’t have a right to have you present. It’s completely up to the investigating officer. Generally, they’ll let you be around. But if they say no, don’t cause a ruckus. Lifehacker.com provides a handy guide for talking to police.
Limit what you say – leave it to the lawyer
There are a lot of things a parent will want to say to their child during this process. But you should stay as uninvolved as you can. You should be there to support your child, but don’t go prodding into the crime itself. Don’t tell them to be honest, or to tell you what happened while in the presence of the police. If they say the wrong thing with the police listening, they could end up waiving their rights. Just like an adult, the first thing a child should be requesting is a lawyer. Leave it to the lawyer to talk to both the police and your child. And, of course, when it comes to lawyers, you’re going to want the best you can get. Read more about criminal defence at formerdistrictattorneys.com.
Make sure your child is respectful
Perhaps the best thing you can do if you communicate with your child is to impress upon them the importance of cooperation and respect. Ideally, a child will know all of this before they’re arrested; the respect should have started at the moment of arrest. However angry your child is, they must treat the officers with some basic respect. They should cooperate on certain matters, such as providing identification. If they’re asked for any further information, your child must declare that they will answer no more questions until a lawyer is present. They must say this; not you.