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When a child, teen, or young adult is arrested, parents are often confused about what they can do to help. Although most parents are willing to do anything and everything for their children, unless they are licensed attorneys, parents cannot defend their children in court.
For minor children, parents may be legally responsible for providing a private defense attorney, or paying the public defender's bill. Adult children may be able to qualify for a free public defender, depending on the jurisdiction. Regardless, the best thing a parent can do for their child facing criminal charges is retain a criminal defense attorney.
Below you'll find three tips on how to select the right criminal defense attorney for your son or daughter.
1. Local and Specific Criminal Law Experience
Criminal law can be both specific to a particular area of the law, as well as to a particular jurisdiction. Finding an attorney with experience practicing in the specific jurisdiction, and in the specific area of criminal law, will significantly increases your child's chances of obtaining a better result.
2. Juvenile Justice Experience
In addition to specific jurisdictional and area of law experience, the attorney you hire for your child, particularly if your child is a minor, or very recent adult (under 21), should have experience with juvenile justice. Generally, courts will be more lenient on minors, and an attorney that has experience dealing with juvenile justice issues will be better prepared, and is likely to obtain a better result.
3. Know Who You're Hiring
If you are hiring a law firm, or even sometimes a solo attorney, you should confirm who will be personally handling the case. Sometimes a law firm will have potential new clients meet with the most senior and experienced attorneys, but then have the cases managed by junior or less experienced associates.
Lastly, parents should be careful not to rely on a court to do the parenting. While some parents are inclined to let the court dole out punishment, unlike grounding, the court's punishment could have permanent negative legal consequences on your child's life. There's no crime too big, no crime too small, that your child's future isn't worth legally protecting.