Your kids are young adults now, so you figure the hard work is over and you can breathe a sigh of relief — until you get that late-night phone call that one of them has been arrested. There was a party, things got loud, and your not-quite 18-year-old was caught holding a beer when the police arrived.
What happens now? That may depend a lot on how well you prepared your child for this kind of event. Even good kids make mistakes or get caught up in bad situations, so here’s what young adults need to know if they ever find themselves in handcuffs:
1. The police are not your friends.
No matter how nice “Officer Joe” seems (or is), he’s an officer of the law and he’s duty-bound to collect evidence against you. You will only hurt yourself by falling into the trap of thinking that you can explain your way out of an arrest.
2. Respect and civility are important.
It’s important to cooperate with the police and remain polite. Nothing — except more charges — can be gained from resisting arrest or trying to run. Provide the police with your name and contact information and be respectful, no matter what you think about the charges.
3. Let the police know you want an attorney and stop talking
The police may or may not ask you questions about your activities or involvement in whatever is happening. The smart thing to do is to politely assert your right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. (Again, you cannot talk yourself out of an arrest. Don’t even try.)
4. Call your parents.
This is a big one. You need a local defense lawyer who can handle your case with expediency, and your parents can probably help you manage the situation better than you could alone.
With luck, your child will never need this bit of advice — but, if they do, you definitely won’t regret having this talk.