Your minor child is accused of committing a crime. Can you be accused of the crime? Will you be taken to criminal court? Do you have to pay for the damage your child caused?
Parents Usually Not Accused
Your child has committed a crime. You will not be accused of the crime yourself, even if you were aware of it and did not tell the police.
Careful! You can be accused of a crime for doing any of these things:
- help or encourage someone to commit a crime
- advise someone to commit a crime
- plan to commit a crime with someone
- help a person escape after committing a crime, for example, by hiding evidence or giving false information to protect your child
You do not have to report someone who committed a crime. But there is a fine line between knowing about a crime and helping someone commit the crime.
Find out! Talk to a lawyer to see whether what you are doing to help your child is legal.
Parents Usually Pay for Damage
Sometimes when teens commit crimes they cause harm to other people. The harm can be physical, psychological or financial. So, these things can happen:
- The teen faces criminal charges.
- The victim takes the teen to court in a civil case to pay for the harm caused.
- The victim sues the teen’s parents to pay for the harm caused.
Here is an example. A teen breaks a window to get into someone’s house to steal something. The owner of the house must spend money to repair the window. Who pays for the repairs? The teen’s parents might be ordered by a judge to compensate the victim by paying for the repairs.
To avoid paying, the parents must prove that they supervised and educated their child as required by law.
Read our article Legal Responsibility of Parents to learn more about situations where you might be responsible for the harm your child causes.