Dealing with a teenager who gets into trouble with the law can be a stressful and overwhelming experience for any parent. Whether your child has been caught shoplifting or has been involved in a car accident, it is important to understand the legal process and the steps you can take to support your child. In this blog post, we will provide you with 5 tips for dealing with a teenager in trouble with the law.
1. Understand the Charges and Potential Consequences
The first step in dealing with a teenager in trouble with the law is to understand the charges and potential consequences. For example, if your child has been caught shoplifting at a mall or store, it will be treated as a summary offense if it is a first offense and the stolen merchandise value is below $150. However, if your child has been involved in a car accident, like the 4.8 million people seriously injured in automobile collisions in 2020, they could face charges such as reckless driving or even vehicular manslaughter.
It is important to understand the potential consequences of the charges so that you can plan accordingly and make informed decisions about your child’s case. Depending on the severity of the charges, your child could face fines, community service, probation, or even jail time.
2. Consider the Benefits of Accepting a Plea Deal
Another important tip for dealing with a teenager in trouble with the law is to consider the benefits of accepting a plea deal. In some cases, the prosecution may offer your child a plea deal in which they agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence.
For example, if your child has been charged with shoplifting, the prosecution may offer a plea deal of six months probation instead of six months in jail. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal, as it may not be the best option for your child, but if you turn down an offer of six months in jail and accept probation, if you violate the probation, the judge will give you a sentence longer than six months.
3. Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer
When dealing with a teenager in trouble with the law, it is also important to hire a criminal defense lawyer. A good criminal defense lawyer will be able to advise you on your child’s case, negotiate with the prosecution, and represent your child in court.
Having an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side can greatly increase the chances of a favorable outcome for your child. They will also be able to explain the legal process to you and your child, and provide guidance and support throughout the case.
4. Seek Support for Your Child
Dealing with a teenager in trouble with the law can be emotionally draining for both the child and the parent. As a result, it is important to seek support for your child. This can include counseling, therapy, or support groups.
Supporting your child during this difficult time will not only help them cope with the legal process but also with any emotional trauma that may have resulted from the incident.
5. Be Prepared for a Long Legal Process
Finally, it is important to be prepared for a long legal process when dealing with a teenager in trouble with the law. This can include multiple court appearances, meetings with the prosecution and defense attorney, and even a trial.
In conclusion, parenting teenagers is hard enough, and dealing with a teenager in trouble with the law can be stressful. But if you know what to expect and take the right steps, you can manage it and get through it together.