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Parents subject to liability for crimes of children

Parents generally will not face criminal charges for the actions of their children. There are a handful of circumstances in which the state will hold the parent criminally liable because of the extremeness of the child's actions. This article will explore the three main ways that you could be liable for your child's actions.

First, most states have some sort of law that punishes parents if their child obtains access to firearms. The laws vary depending on the circumstances but they generally break down into various degrees in which minors gain access to firearms. Some states hold the parent liable if the child uses a firearm regardless of the measures to secure the weapon. Other states provide an exception if the child used the weapon in self-defense or the child gained access to the weapon through unlawful means, such as if he or she breaks into your gun safe. These punishments are enhanced if the child causes serious injury or death.

Second, a few states impose liability for "delinquent youth." This basically means that your child committed a crime and is charged. Depending on the crime parents could face additional criminal penalties for their child's actions. Most states do not impose such broad criminal liability and instead limit liability to fines. Many states also require that parents attend any hearings in which their child makes an appearance. Some other states require parents to reimburse the court / government for costs associated with detention, support, care or treatment.

Third, parents may be liable if their child commits electronic or Internet crimes. These crimes break down into two basic categories: illegal downloads and sexually explicit materials. Parents can be criminally responsible if their child downloads music, movies or other products illegally ? even if the parent was unaware of the behavior. Additionally, you could be liable if your child uses his or her phone or computer to send sexually explicit photos of him or herself or of their peers.

If your child has committed one of these actions then you could be held criminally responsible. You may want to speak to a criminal defense attorney not just for your child but for your own peace of mind. Generally, you should not face serious criminal penalties however this depends upon the facts of the situation.

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Over my career, I have earned a number of honors reflecting my professionalism and commitment to my clients. These awards include:

    • 10 best 2016 client satisfaction American institute of personal injury attorneys
    • 10 best 2016 client satisfaction American institute of criminal law attorneys
    • Martindale-Hubbell | Distinguished | Peer Rated for High Professional Achievement | 2019
    • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys
    • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
    • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 40 Under 40
    • Nationally Ranked Superior DUI Attorney By the nafdd | 2013
    • Top Young Attorneys | 2014 | Rising Stars selected by Peer Recognition and Professional Achievement
    • Rated By Super Lawyers | Rising Stars | Ryan L. Beasley | SuperLawyers.com
    • America's Most Honored Professionals | Ryan L. Beasley
    • Martindale-Hubbell | Client Champion | Gold / 2019
    • Expertise | Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Greenville
    • 2015 Legal Elite of the Upstate | Greenville's Top Attorneys
    • Legal Elite of the Upstate
    • Legal Elite of the Upstate 2013-2018
    • Client Distinction Award | Ryan L. Beasley, Esq.
    • Client Champion 2019 | Ryan L. Beasley | Gold
    • Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards | Ryan L. Beasley, Esq.

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