Your child may have been prone to getting into trouble all of his or her life or has been trouble-free. Either way, you have received potentially devastating news--your child faces accusations for something serious such as drunk driving that could hurt his or her future. It feels like the end of the world to you and possibly to your child,too.
However, you understand the importance of keeping a level head throughout the process to minimize the damage these accusations will do to your child's future. For instance, in the short term, there may be limits on college financial aid. What can you do to help your child?
Choose representation wisely
Not all lawyers are created alike. For instance, some may have deep experience in campus disciplinary hearings while others do not. The same goes for other areas such as assault, OUI and drug distribution. Make sure your attorney has the necessary experience to defend clients such as your child.
As for public defenders, they are usually good and skilled people, but they juggle huge caseloads. Your child's case deserves more attention. It may be worth going into some debt now to retain a private attorney. The cost could be cheaper than you might think.
Keep your distance from the particulars of the case
Your child's lawyer has probably advised your child to not discuss the case with anyone. This is for good reasons. For example, words can get twisted around, and a misunderstanding could hurt your child later. You might be bursting at the seams to know the whys, hows and whens of your child's case, but do not pressure your child to spill all.
There is also the fact that your child is probably angry, confused and hurt, whether guilty or innocent. Now is not the time to lambaste your child repeatedly for making stupid mistakes. Everyone's focus needs to be on protecting your child. Learning from mistakes is a secondary focus that deserves to rise in importance after the resolution of the case.