You get a call from the police saying that they have your teenager in custody. This is something that no parent wants to go through, and understandably, panic might set in. As you go through the process of trying to make sense of it all and figuring out what to do, it's important that you take a deep breath and realize that this is a pivotal moment.
Right now, your teen is on the cusp of adulthood, so you'll want to do everything you can to help them succeed. Legal problems can follow them into adulthood, so make sure you're all-in on offering solutions.
Take Time Off from Work, Get Away, and Regroup
This is a family emergency. As such, you need to take time off from work for a few days and make addressing your child's arrest a priority. Secure bail bonds from a service that can complete the process speedily. Depending on the charge, you may need to use jewelry, your car, or the house as collateral for the bail bond. Taking time off from work will give you the time to secure these matters without having to rush.
Take a few days to get out of town with your teen after bail is paid. A camping trip is a great solution because you'll have hours of no electronic devices, a lot of time in nature, and plenty of opportunities to have deep and meaningful conversations with your teen. Find ways to figure out what is going on and how you can help.
Try to Minimize the Damage as Much as Possible Legally, and Set up Systems That Keep Your Teen Fulfilled and Out of Trouble
Additionally, reach out to a lawyer that can seek an acquittal or leniency. Since your teen likely doesn't have a prior record, most judges will work out a deal that may involve community service or dropping the charges, so long as your teen doesn't get in any more trouble and maintains a certain grade point average in school.
Find a juvenile attorney that has a proven background. This will protect your teen as they move past the arrest and into another chapter of their life.
Ultimately, your teen will need to decide their own path, but you always have a chance to influence them. Always do your part to guide them and protect them, especially when dealing with something as serious as getting arrested and facing a charge.