What to do as a parent if your child gets arrested?
Your child is your world. You would do anything for your son or daughter in a time of need. You never imagined your child would get into trouble with the law. You have two choices. You can turn your back or you can try to prevent the current situation from snowballing into something much worse. If your child gets arrested, take 5 important steps to handle the situation.
Get the facts before you act
Your first impulse is to panic when the police called to tell you your child has been arrested. It’s one of a parent’s worst nightmares. The thought of your son or daughter breaking the law can be overwhelming. Before you jump in the car and speed to the police station, ask what happened. Get as much information as possible before you actually see your child in person. Take notes. Once you’ve hung up the phone, breathe. Try and stay focused on remaining calm. Drive carefully to the station. If you are too emotional, ask someone else to drive. As soon as you arrive, talk to an authority to learn any more specifics about your child’s charges. At this point, you have an important decision to make. You need to decide if you are going to take your child home that day. Otherwise, your son or daughter may be held overnight.
Hire a legal professional
No matter how well you know your child or how much you want to help, you are not a legal expert. You need to get a lawyer immediately to deal with your child’s charges.
Find a good lawyer in your area such as a North Carolina criminal defense attorney if you live in North Carolina that can help you to navigate this confusing, troublesome time. Bring your lawyer to the police station to ensure all steps have been taken properly up to this point. In many situations, the police may not follow the proper protocol. If they haven’t, charges will need to be dropped. Your child should not speak to investigators without your attorney present. Once your child is released, the battle may not be over. Your lawyer may continue to work on behalf of your child, gathering documentation and acting as a mediator to have the best outcome.
Sit down to discuss the situation with your child
Once you come home, open the lines of communication with your son or daughter. As calmly as possible, ask your child for his or her perspective on what happened. Try to put all of the pieces of this puzzle in place. Find out if peer pressure played a role in your child’s arrest. If drugs or alcohol were a factor, you need to determine if they form a pattern of habitual use. Make sure your son or daughter understands the severity of the situation. Discuss what your child can do to avoid future problems with the law. You need to be supportive no matter how difficult it is. Everyone makes mistakes. Your main goal is to make sure this type of mistake doesn’t happen again.
Get your child the help from a professional
Whatever problem that led your child down this path may be bigger than you can handle on your own. As a parent, you’re going to be emotionally involved. Tensions at home may be part of the equation. A therapist may be the best resource to help your child work through his or her troubles. If substance abuse is a problem, an additional recovery specialist is the best person to call.
Focus on finding solutions
Once you get through the initial shock of your child’s arrest, you need to think about what you can do fix what has been broken. Take a team approach, working with professionals, family, and friends to give your child a support network. Let your child know this arrest doesn’t mean the end of the world. It’s time for a clean slate.
Don’t play the blame game if your child has broken the law. You’re sure to feel guilty, looking back at years gone by, wondering where you went wrong. You can’t live in the past. What’s done is done. Don’t let anger take over at a difficult time. You’re going to need to keep a cool head as you look for answers. The decisions you make now for your child can lay the foundation for a better future. It’s going to take time and patience to turn around a negative situation.