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Parents: What to do if your child is charged with a crime

High school and college students often make numerous mistakes on their way to adulthood. When they think about consequences of bad actions, which they don't always do, they might just think about losing their car for a weekend or getting a bad grade.

However, the reality is that students can be looking at very serious penalties if they don't just make a mistake; they commit a crime. In these cases, it is important for parents to act on behalf of their children to protect them from some potentially serious penalties.

Take the charges seriously

Even if the charges against your child seem minor or heavy-handed, it is crucial that you not dismiss them. Everything from shoplifting to sexual assault has criminal consequences that can include fines and jail time, not to mention the academic and professional consequences that can come with a criminal conviction. It is also possible that your child could be transferred to criminal court and treated as an adult, as directed by Tennessee laws. As such, you need to take the situation seriously. 

Make sure your child does what he or she needs to do

It is vital that your child appears in court when required. He or she must also comply with any protective orders, counseling, rehabilitation or suspensions ordered by the court. As a parent, you can help ensure your child is doing what he or she needs to be doing. This might include enforcing a curfew or giving them rides to school, work or court.

Try to focus on the future

Even if you are angry or disappointed in your child, remember that he or she has a future to protect and rights to defend. If your child is taken into custody in Tennessee, it is crucial that you consult an attorney. Doing so can make the difference between a child learning from a mistake and paying for one for the rest of his or her life.

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