It can be absolutely devastating to find out that your child has broken the law. Whether it’s drinking and driving or breaking and entering, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to have them take back their actions and avoid the consequences that could come their way if they’re reported.
The truth is that children are going to make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that they will continue to do things to get into trouble with the law. This might be a one-time offense that you can use to teach your child a lesson, or it may be a repeat occurrence that you need to handle now.
Parents aren’t generally required to report a crime committed by their children
In some cases, you might not yet have reported something that your child did that was against the law. Did you know that there is usually no duty to report a crime unless you are a mandatory reporter or know about a potential offense before it occurs (like knowing your child is drunk before they get into their vehicle).
There are times when parents can get into trouble for their children’s actions. Some of these times include when:
- Your child has been truant
- Your child has committed a gun crime
- Your child is bullying others
- Your child drinks and drives while underage
In those instances, you may want to report your child to prevent yourself from facing charges. This is something to consider carefully before doing so, since reporting your child could lead to harsh penalties for them in the future.
What should you do if your child breaks a law but isn’t caught?
Depending on what happened, you can do a few things. For instance, if your child drank alcohol and managed to make it home safely, it may be smarter to sit down and talk about how dangerous that was and to get them substance abuse treatment if needed. If your child is truant often, you may want to take them to their class in the morning and work with the school to make sure they get to each class on time daily.
Not all crimes are equal, and there are times when it’s sometimes best to make this a learning experience rather than getting the police involved. If you’re not sure what to do, then it’s a good idea to speak with your attorney before making a decision that could impact your child’s life.