The debate of whether parents should be blamed and held responsible for juvenile crime has been going on for quite some time. If they should, how extreme should the punishment be? Should it include fines and incarceration, or should it depend on the crime and perhaps age of the child?
The answer to this question depends on the state the juvenile crime was committed in. In California, in an effort to prevent gang activity, a law was passed making it a crime if parents do not “exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection, and control” of their children. This California law makes it possible for parents to serve time in prison if they do not supervise their children. Other states also have laws such as this, holding parents wholly or partially responsible if their children commit juvenile crime. This type of legislation has existed as long as 150 years.
Punishment for children disobeying the law ranges from fees in juvenile court to being assigned to counseling programs as well as community service. In more extreme cases, parents can be arrested for the actions of their children. If guns are involved, specific Child Access Prevention (or CAP) laws exist that can result in prison sentences and/or fines for the parents.
Parental punishment laws have some opposition. The main opposition being the fact that such laws for parental responsibility are unconstitutionally broad. A 2005 study found 69% of participants felt parents were partially responsible for the juvenile crimes their delinquent teens committed. However, the study found these same participants were reluctant to agree when it came to these parents being incarcerated.
If your child has been accused of a juvenile crime, you need the expert legal advice of a criminal defense attorney. Contact Sevens Legal, APC today for a free consultation.