Every parent fears the moment they receive a call notifying them that their child has been involved in illegal activities. However, an even deeper concern emerges when parents themselves become implicated due to their child’s actions. So, can parents face charges for their child’s transgressions?
Read on to learn about this complicated situation. If you or your child has been accused of a crime, contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.
Understanding the Juvenile Justice System
Generally, when a minor, defined as someone under the age of 18, engages in illicit activities, it’s the juvenile justice system that steps in. This system vastly differs from the adult criminal justice landscape. Recognizing that children’s cognitive abilities aren’t on par with adults, the juvenile system aims for rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Although similar trial structures are maintained, one notable distinction is the absence of jury trials. Instead, a judge directly hears the case and renders a disposition, which can be likened to a verdict in the adult system but with different terminologies.
Parental Accountability and Its Legal Implications
While it’s rare, there are circumstances where parents might find themselves legally accountable for their child’s misdeeds. One such charge is ‘Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.’ This charge can be levied when parental actions or negligence result in a child:
- Becoming dependent on the juvenile court system.
- Turning into a juvenile delinquent.
- Being persistently truant.
For parents to be found guilty of this misdemeanor, the prosecution must demonstrate that the parents’ oversight or lack thereof was glaringly unreasonable. For instance, should a parent provide their underage child with substances like alcohol or drugs, resulting in their arrest, the parent could be criminally charged. Similarly, knowingly permitting an unlicensed minor to drive can also land parents in hot water. If convicted of this misdemeanor, parents may face imprisonment for up to 364 days and fines reaching $2,500.
The Civil Ramifications
Beyond criminal charges, parents can also find themselves entangled in civil lawsuits due to their child’s actions. If a child’s illicit activity leads to property damage or physical injury, parents might be taken to court. For example, if a parent grants their unlicensed child permission to drive and an accident ensues, a lawsuit could be imminent.
Seeking Legal Guidance
Should you find yourself in a situation where your child’s actions have resulted in legal challenges, either for them or you, professional guidance is crucial. Chambers Law Firm boasts a team of adept criminal defense attorneys well-versed in the complexities of such cases. If you require assistance or have any queries, please reach out to us at 714-760-4088 for an initial, complimentary consultation.