You never expected your child to get arrested, but then you got the phone call. Now you’re just asking yourself how and why this could have happened. What factors pushed your child to break the law?

While every case is unique, of course, experts have identified numerous potential risk factors that can increase the likelihood of juvenile crime. A few examples include the following:

  • Access to firearms. Even though it may be illegal for your teen to buy certain firearms, is there any way for him or her to get them outside of a legal purchase?
  • Exposure to criminal activity and violence. Has your teen seen any examples of this in the home? If not, who does your teen spend time with at school or outside of your home?
  • Peer pressure. If your teen gets involved with a delinquent peer group, they may influence your child to do things you never expected.
  • Instability at home. Studies have found that having a stable, dependable family life can make criminal activity less likely. That is not to say it doesn’t happen, however, even with those who come from loving, stable homes.
  • Violent media. Teens may be heavily influenced by the things they read about or see on TV.
  • Poverty. A low economic standing can lead to criminal activity, especially theft and related crimes. Even minor crimes like shoplifting may just link back to a fundamental lack of financial assets.

No matter what happened or why your child got arrested, you need to know about all the defense options they have and all their legal rights. A lot is at stake when facing potentially life-changing charges.