There is nothing funny about your children facing criminal charges, and knowing what to do in a situation may make you feel hopeless will help decrease your anxiety. When standing between your child and the law, you have to take a realistic approach and consider the best way to move forward.

You do everything you can to make sure your kids are strong, independent and obedient, but when they make mistakes, there is only so much you can do. If you are a parent worried about your child facing charges here are some things to remember.

Your child’s choices have nothing to do with you

There are many reasons your child may be acting out or getting in trouble. Or they may have just made a mistake. Regardless don’t take your child’s mistake as your personal mistake. Your kid has their own ability to make choices and you will have to respect that, even if the choices are self-destructive.

Do not speak to the police without representation

Police all over have been cited in the past for using intimidating interrogation tactics that are designed to get confessions rather than the truth. Make sure your child is being protected by a lawyer who will protect their rights.

Learn everything possible about what comes next

The juvenile court process is knowable. As a juvenile, meaning anyone 17 and under, your child goes through a different judgment process with some important distinctions. Juveniles are not convicted, but rather adjudicated, which means the decision comes from a judge after a hearing instead of a jury after a trial. The judge then issues a disposition, not a sentence, which is supposed to be the “least restrictive” punishment possible of those recommended by the prosecution.

Be on your child’s side

When it comes to a problem in court, people feel like they are alone. Your main job as a parent should be to be there for your child. That does not mean to deny their mistakes or punish them, but to take care of them emotionally to the best of your ability. Leave the job of being a lawyer, to their lawyer.