When your child faces a criminal charge, it can be hard to know what to do. You want to offer help that’s supportive and constructive. Here are five important steps to take if your child is charged with a crime:

Don’t talk to the police

Even if the police try to convince you that they’re just here to help, the truth is that the police want to build the case against your child. The best thing that you can do is tell the police that your child has an attorney. Your child’s attorney can decide how to go about police interaction if it’s necessary.

Secure a defense attorney

The sooner you hire a defense attorney for your child, the sooner they can begin working on your child’s case. An attorney can evaluate your child’s case to determine if there are viable defenses. Many jurisdictions offer special dispensation programs for youthful offenders. Your attorney likely knows how your child can qualify to participate.

Help your child be their best

When your child faces a criminal charge, the court wants to see that they’re taking the charges seriously. This is the time to help your child do their best in school. When you hire a defense attorney, one of your first questions should be if there’s anything your child should be doing right now to help their case.

In most situations, the answer is to go to school and get the best grades possible. Your child may need to begin counseling or substance abuse treatment. They may need to take a test to show they haven’t used illegal substances. If you can help your child with these things, you’re helping their case.

Attend all court proceedings

Depending on your location and your child’s status as an adult or juvenile, you may be required to attend court with your child. Even if it’s not required, attend court anyways. You can be an extra set of eyes and ears. This is also a healthy way that you can show support for your loved one.

Examine where you can make changes

If your child might benefit from counseling, you may also find counseling helpful too. You can learn new tools to work with your child effectively and develop coping techniques for stress at home. The counselor may help you establish new house rules that can benefit your child. This is a good time for self reflection as you and your child work towards making positive changes.

When a child faces a criminal charge, it can be a stressful time for the whole family. You can help when you hire a defense attorney and attend court with your child. You can also work to make positive changes for and with your child that may benefit them in the future.

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