It is one of the calls a parent never wants to get. Your kid calls and needs you to pick them up because they were arrested. After you take a breath, get your kid, and figure out what is happening, you may wonder how to help. The criminal justice system is not kind, and a conviction can be devastating for your child’s future.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help your child.
#1: Before an arrest.
Ideally it is important to have some conversations with your kids before they get into this type of situation. Let them know that if the police arrest the child to be polite but to know that they do not have to answer questions. The legal right to representation extends to children.
This is important because an arrest and police interrogation is very intimidating. Massachusetts law allows police to arrest a child as young as twelve. Not surprisingly, police intimidate children. A child can find themselves saying things they do not mean. It can even lead to a false confession simply because the kid is too intimidated to speak up and may agree with an officer just to end an interrogation.
#2: During the arrest.
This is your kid’s time to shine. Hopefully, they remember the conversation above and reach out. If they call, remind them to be respectful, calm, and patient. Then it is generally wise to reach out to legal counsel for help.
#3: After the arrest.
After you get that call, know that you are not alone. Thousands of children in Massachusetts are in a similar situation every year.
Although not alone, it is still important to take the situation seriously. Help your child build a defense to the allegations. This can reduce the risk the arrest leads to criminal charges or escalates to a conviction. A conviction can come with serious penalties that vary depending on the details of the crime and can lead to difficulties finding employment, housing, and getting scholarships.