“My kid was arrested, what do I do?” Many parents feel lost and guilty if their child is arrested. They want to know what to do, how to help. It is important to remember you’re not alone. Here is some advice on what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
Being arrested is scary. Many times, it is your first experience, or at least first negative experience, with law enforcement. You are not certain about your rights. You are not certain if the officer is conducting himself or the investigation properly. You are not certain what you can do to help or protect yourself. Do you have to do what the officer says? Do you have to answer the officer’s questions? This can be a confusing situation. The confusion is only increased when the person being arrested is a child.
While it is scary for anybody to be arrested, it is a horrific experience for the parent of the child being arrested. The parent wants nothing more than to help and to protect their child. We are often asked “what can I do,” “what should I do,” or “is there anything I can do” when a parent’s child is arrested. The immediate response is: participate. Actively participate in the investigation on behalf of your child. Here are some ways you can do that:
1. Hire an Attorney
Clearly, contacting an attorney to represent your child is a great idea, and that is highly encouraged. But there are other things that a parent can do themselves that can help protect the juvenile defendant.
2. Get Involved
As soon as you become aware that your child is being investigated or has been arrested, get involved. Accept the officers’ invitation to be present during their interrogation of your child. And if that invitation does not occur, request to be present during any questioning of your child.
3. Be Willing to Invoke Your Rights
Be aware of the constitutional rights that are available to every criminal defendant during the investigatory phase of the case, and be ready to invoke those rights on behalf of your child. If you don’t like the direction that the interrogation is heading, cut the questioning off by invoking your child’s right to remain silent.
4. Don’t Succumb to Pressure
If the officers respond to that invocation by reminding you that cooperation with their investigation will weigh heavily on how the district attorney’s office plans to handle the case (i.e. the more the child talks and tells us, the more lenient the district attorney’s office is willing to be), let the officers know that you and your child wish to cooperate with the investigation, but only in the presence of an attorney. The right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present during questioning are tremendous rights that are often waived by criminal suspects under investigation. Do not allow your child to waive these rights or be pressured or tricked into doing so.
5. Be in Their Corner
Simply being there is also a big deal. If your child is arrested and put in jail, for any amount of time, be there. Go visit them in the jail. Go to their court appearances. Let them know that you are in their corner, that you care, that (even if they messed up) you are still their family and you will always be there for them. That’s a lot, and it helps. It helps the child stay calm and allow the process to play out in court as it should, rather than rushing to plead guilty so that they can be released and becoming just another statistic as a documented juvenile offender. Knowing that someone is in your corner, especially when everybody and everything else seems to be going against you, is a powerful thing.
Call 865.637.6550 to schedule a case assessment with a Held Law Firm attorney.