Many parents fear getting a phone call in the middle of the night because they suspect the caller will deliver bad news about their children. And few things are as shocking as finding out your child has been arrested for a crime.
At Tad Nelson & Associates, we know that parents would do anything for their children, so we have written this blog post. There are certain steps you can take right now and in the days following to improve your child’s odds of beating the criminal charges. There are also mistakes you should avoid. We encourage concerned parents to call our law firm today to speak with our Houston criminal defense attorney in a confidential setting.
Hire a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
This is without a doubt the best first step. Call an attorney and tell them where your child is being held. The lawyer should go to your child and advise them of their legal rights. If your child is a juvenile, they might be released into your custody.
But even an adult child needs an experienced attorney to help them while they sit in jail. An attorney can advise your child to remain silent and ensure the police get the message to stop any interrogation.
Ideally, you should hire someone with deep experience in Texas criminal law. Many parents panic, which is understandable. You might call your divorce lawyer because that’s the only lawyer you know. Hopefully, they will connect you to an experienced criminal defense attorney like Tad Nelson.
Avoid Talking to the Police
You aren’t obligated to talk to the police, either. In fact, the less said the better. Also don’t let police come into your home to search it and remove evidence. Make them get a search warrant.
You should also consider whether you have any criminal liability of your own. Texas will prosecute someone for aiding and abetting a crime, which could consist of letting your child use your car or letting him hang out at home after committing the crime. This is another reason not to talk with the police.
Help Preserve Evidence
Your child’s lawyer will have an idea of what evidence might be useful as part of the defense. Work with him or her to preserve as much as you can.
For example, your child might have been with you during the crime. That makes you an alibi witness. Write down who else saw your child with you during the time in question and draft a summary of what you talked about, what TV shows you watched, etc.
If your child faces sex crimes charges, then you might know the alleged victim. You might have text messages or direct messages on social media that are useful. Let an attorney know about them and make sure not to delete them. You might also need to talk with other family members to find out if they have useful evidence.
Stay Off Social Media
There is a natural temptation to talk about the arrest with people you know. You might even feel called upon to defend your child’s reputation. But public comments can be used against your child and possibly lead the police to other evidence.
Your best bet is to stay off social media. Police investigators can easily find your Facebook or Instagram page. Even setting your page to private doesn’t mean they can’t ultimately gain access to it.
Suspend Your Tough Love Attitude
Some parents adopt a “tough love” attitude when their child faces criminal charges and refuse to lift a finger. Maybe you think your son or daughter needs to be taught a lesson and are secretly glad they were arrested.
As experienced criminal defense lawyers, we encourage parents to take a more compassionate approach. Tough love can wait. The criminal justice system is no place for your child, and we will work to keep them out of jail or prison.
Many parents report feeling better when they are involved in their child’s case. That might mean going to status hearings, taking notes, and talking to your child’s lawyer about the case. Under no circumstances, however, should you try to contact the judge or prosecutor.
Was Your Child Arrested?
Tad Nelson’s team has worked with many people accused of crimes in Houston. We can spring into action to attend someone’s arraignment or bail hearing or even visit you in jail. Please call our firm to discuss your case privately. You owe it to yourself and your family to do everything possible to avoid a conviction.