If you are a parent whose teenager is in legal trouble, what are your legal and parental rights and responsibilities? If your child is charged with a crime, obtaining the advice and services of a San Marcos juvenile defense lawyer is both your right and your most pressing responsibility.
Of course, you have other legal and parental rights if your child is placed under arrest and accused of breaking the law:
- You have the right to be informed that your child has been placed under arrest
- You have the right to see your child if he or she is being detained
- You have the right to accompany your child to juvenile court hearings
- In some cases, you will have the right to speak at those hearings
What Are a Parent’s Legal Responsibilities?
Attending your child’s juvenile court hearings is your responsibility as well as your right. You are also responsible for helping your child to comply with any court orders and for your own compliance with any court orders that affect you and your parenting.
A parent can be proactive, and you can help your teen avoid legal trouble, by discussing with your teenager what is at stake when he or she breaks the law or is accused of breaking the law – as explained below.
Teens should also know about their rights, especially their right to remain silent and their right to have an attorney present during any interrogation. A police interrogation can be a terrifying experience, and many intimidated young people have “confessed” to crimes they did not commit.
What Penalties May Be Imposed on Juvenile Offenders?
Even if your teenager isn’t ordered to serve time under the supervision of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department – the usual penalty for serious juvenile crimes – he or she could be sentenced to juvenile probation, and the terms of probation may include some or all of these conditions:
- a curfew
- a loss of driving privileges
- travel restrictions
- electronic monitoring
- regular meetings with a juvenile probation officer
What Else Should Parents Know?
When someone under the age of 17 is arrested (detained) in Texas, police agencies are supposed to notify the child’s parent, parents, or guardian promptly.
Apart from the immediate legal consequences of a juvenile criminal conviction, your teen should understand that a juvenile conviction (called an “adjudication” in Texas) may also keep a young person from attending certain colleges, receiving loans or scholarships, or landing the job that young person wants.
When Should You Contact a Juvenile Defense Lawyer?
Teenagers are sometimes accused of crimes that they did not commit. Your child might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time or might resemble someone who did commit a crime.
That’s one reason why you must put a San Marcos juvenile defense attorney on the case at once if your child has been charged with breaking the law. Like adults, juveniles should be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.
If your child is guilty as charged, forgiveness and a second chance are all that many young people need. If your child is innocent, a San Marcos juvenile defense lawyer will explain to the prosecutor and judge what really happened.
Nothing is more important than your child’s future. Make the call to a juvenile defense lawyer as soon as you learn that your child is in legal trouble.