Old Bailey Solicitors

Legal Advice: If Your Child Is Arrested During Freshers’ Week

When your child heads off to university, it’s always an emotional time for parents and whilst your will have done everything in your power to prepare them for their new-found independence and life away from home, it’s not possible to prepare for every eventuality. It’s a sad fact that whilst fresher’s week is a highlight and key milestone of a new life university, criminal activity does often happen and some young adults may find themselves being involved with a police investigation.

In this piece, I offer a few tips that may be helpful for parents whose child has been arrested, or asked to attend a police station.

  1. Stay Calm: While it’s natural to be worried, try to remain calm. Panicking won’t help the situation and it certainly won’t help your child who will probably be dealing with trauma of their own.
  2. Speak to your child:  Remember that they may not want to disclose all of the circumstances or to discuss the case with you at all.  They may well be embarrassed by the situation.
  3. If your child is still at the police station:  Find out whether they have requested the services of a solicitor.  If not, this is likely to be your first port of call.  Legal representation is always a good idea, whether your child has committed an offence or not.
  4. After their release from police custody:  If your child is willing to speak with you, it will be helpful to know some basic details about the case.  What were they arrested for? Did they have the assistance of the solicitor at the police station?  Are they now subject to bail conditions?  Do they have to return to the police station on a specific date? Have they been charged with any specific offences?  Are they required to attend court?
  5. Contact a Solicitor: If your child requested legal representation at the police station then they may already have a solicitor.  You can help your child to decide whether to retain the services of that solicitor or whether to instruct another firm.  It is always a good idea to seek legal advice, no matter how minor the allegation.  Any conviction or police record can have a lasting impact.
  6. Contact University Authorities:  Consider whether the University needs to be informed of the arrest.  This will depend on the circumstances of the case.  It will not always be necessary.  The Student Support Service may be able to offer some guidance as will the instructed solicitor.
  7. Support Your Child: Let your child know that you’re there to support them emotionally. Being arrested can be an overwhelming experience, and having your support can be comforting.  Remember that this does not necessarily mean that they will need you to assume control of every aspect of the situation.
  8. Understand University Policies: Familiarise yourself with the university’s policies regarding student conduct, in particular alleged criminal conduct. This will help you understand how the university might handle the situation internally.
  9. Communication with the University: Consider whether to keep the university updated about the situation, especially if any proceedings might impact your child’s ability to attend classes or fulfil academic obligations. They might be able to provide some flexibility or assistance.  However, this must be balanced against your child’s right to confidentiality.
  10. Learn from the Experience: Once the legal process is resolved, take the opportunity to have a discussion with your child about the incident.  Once the trauma of the arrest and any proceedings has subsided, now might be time for learning a life lesson or two.
  11. Consider Seeking Counselling: Being arrested can be traumatic, and your child might benefit from counselling or therapy to help process their emotions and experiences.  If the legal proceedings are likely to take a number of months, it is worth starting that process straight away.

Remember that every situation is unique, and the best course of action will depend on the specific circumstances and legal advice you receive.  Whilst it is important to lend your support and guidance, remember that your child is now an adult and that they will be treated as such by the Criminal Justice System.  Encourage your child to take responsibility for their actions, learn from the experience, and make positive changes moving forward.  The consequences of an arrest are rarely as bad or as dramatic as they might first seem.

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We have offices in Brighton, London and Horley and advise clients on all aspects of criminal defence allegations, including sexual offences, violent offences and drug offences.

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At Old Bailey Solicitors we understand that protecting your child is every parent’s primary role. If they have been arrested for criminal activity, you – and they – will be concerned about their future and the impact that it can have in the short and long term – on their immediate studies, but also their future prospects should they end up with a criminal record.

Our team of expert criminal defence solicitors can support you and your family to help reduce any negative impact on your child’s future. Please contact our specialist team to discuss your own individual situation. We can arrange a confidential, discreet discussion and will advise you of your child’s options.

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