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Juvenile crimes: When can parents be held liable?

Raising a child is undoubtedly one of the most challenging jobs there is. Parents typically correct their children's behavior constantly, hoping to have them grow up to be responsible and well-behaved teens and later adults. However, a certain level of mischief must be allowed, and the challenge is to prevent mischief from turning into crime. No parent in Florida would want to have to deal with accusations of juvenile crimes against his or her child.

While parents do not have the duty to report the criminal behavior of their children, they might want to take note of some instances in which they might be held civilly or criminally liable for crimes committed by their children. Concealing knowledge of a crime or the perpetrators could lead to a parent facing charges of aiding and abetting, or being an accessory. Parents may want to ensure their children do not play hooky from school too often if they do not wish to face truancy-related charges.

Other circumstances that might lead to parents being held responsible for the actions of their children include gun safety. If a child uses a gun and causes harm to another person, parents might be held liable for failing to store firearms safely. The parents of a bully might be accused of failing to control and supervise their child, and they could also be liable for fines and civil claims if their underage child operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

When Florida parents receive the dreaded phone call informing them that their child has been arrested, they may not realize that their next steps can be detrimental. Contacting an attorney who is experienced in defending teens accused of juvenile crimes is crucial. A lawyer can make sure the rights of the child and parents are protected while advocating for them throughout the ensuing legal proceedings.

Source: FindLaw, "What to Do If Your Child Commits a Crime", Molly Zilli, May 7, 2018

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