Learning that your child has been arrested is a phone call that no parent wants to receive. If you find yourself in this position, it is critical to understand how to react and what to do next. Taking the wrong steps or giving the wrong advice to your child could have a significant impact on his or her future. Follow these steps to protect your child from the worst possible consequences of an arrest in Arizona.
Ask About the Charges
First, find out what your child is being accused of. You can typically obtain this information from the person who called you from the police department to tell you that your child has been arrested. Although the official charges will not be entered until your child’s arraignment hearing, you can learn the details of why he or she was arrested. Use this information to find a criminal defense attorney in your city that specializes in the type of crime allegedly committed.
Learn What Course of Action Law Enforcement Will Take
Ask what course of action the police department plans on taking. It has a few options. It may choose to take your child into custody, meaning that your child will have a mugshot and fingerprints taken. Your child may also have to spend the night in jail and remain there until he or she can post bail. They may also release your child, with conditions, and allow him or her to wait at home for the first hearing. If your child was arrested for an alcohol-related offense, your child may also be medically screened.
Accompany Your Child to Formal Questioning
Depending on the law in your state and the specific circumstances surrounding your child’s arrest, you may be allowed to accompany them into formal questioning or police interrogations as the parent or guardian. If so, take this opportunity to protect your child’s rights. Make sure that your child uses his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent; your child should not answer any questions about the incident or alleged crime until there is an attorney present.
Remember that the police are not on your side. Although it may be your instinct to push your child to tell the truth, if your child has been arrested, it is very important for your child to stay silent until consulting with an attorney for guidance. Saying the wrong thing can lead to greater legal trouble. Also, remind your child to use cooperation and respect. Don’t argue with the police. If you have an issue with how the police handled the arrest or interrogation, consult with an attorney for legal assistance.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
The most important step that you can take if your child is arrested in Arizona is contacting a criminal defense lawyer. Don’t try to play lawyer as a parent. Even with the best intentions, parents often hurt a case more than they help. Your child is in a precarious position as a criminal defendant – his or her entire future could be on the line. Don’t underestimate the severity of the situation or the importance of hiring an attorney.
Create a Plan for the Future
Work closely with your child’s lawyer to create a plan for the future. Your lawyer can come up with a smart defense strategy to reduce the charges and or penalties that your child is facing. You may be able to help by gathering documentation and preparing character witness information. With a lawyer on your side in Arizona, you can learn more about your child’s situation, the options for fighting the charges, what to expect from the juvenile corrections system, the possibility of sealing the juvenile record, and more.
Everyone makes mistakes. If your child has been arrested, offer them your support and guidance. Attend family counseling, for example, to identify what caused your child to engage in criminal behaviors. Your support during this difficult and frightening time in your child’s life could prevent your child from making similar mistakes in the future.