Are Parents Responsible For Their Child’s Crimes?
Oct. 12, 2022
Although the goal of most parents is to foster a child’s spirit of adventure, curiosity, and learning, sometimes that behavior leads to mischief and potential crime. According to data provided by the Kentucky Youth Advocates, there were nearly 4,000 minors detained in a secure juvenile facility in 2019. When minors commit crimes, the initial question parent’s often ask is if their child will be charged as an adult. Although this is certainly a very relevant question, it is also important to know that crimes committed by minors can also bring criminal consequences for parents as well.
At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates PLLC, our legal team can provide comfort in assisting you and your child's specific situation. We can gather the essential facts and details to mold a strong defense during these challenging times. Our firm proudly serves clients in Shepherdsville, Louisville, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, and Radcliff, Kentucky.
Parental Responsibility Laws
Parental responsibility laws apply to parents of children aged 17 or younger. Contrary to what you may believe, these laws are not a new judicial concept and have been around for over a hundred years. In most states, parents can be held legally responsible for their child’s actions in criminal and civil court. Generally, parental responsibility laws are designed to encourage parents to adequately supervise minors at all times. In doing so, parents lessen the likelihood that their child will engage in criminal activity.
Kentucky’s Parental Responsibility Law
In Kentucky, parents may be held responsible for their child’s willful misconduct or negligence. In simple terms, willful misconduct is deliberate or intentional wrongdoing, and negligence is the result of failing to take proper care. Kentucky law focuses on two main statutes that hold parents accountable for a minor's criminal action:
Revised Statute 405.025 holds parents liable for property damage caused by a minor.
Revised Statue 186.590 holds parents liable for motor vehicle accidents caused by a minor.
A final Kentucky law that may also hold parents liable is known as “common law.” Common law rests on the idea that if a parent is aware that their child has a known history to act recklessly or negligently, parents are expected to take appropriate and reasonable steps to prevent the child from engaging in dangerous behaviors that may affect themselves or others. When parents recognize this propensity but fail to exercise action, they may be held liable when a crime is committed.
Possible Parental Consequences
The consequences and penalties associated with parental responsibility depend on the type of crime committed by the minor, the prior history of the offender, and other mitigating factors. That being said, in most Kentucky jurisdictions, a violation of parental responsibility can carry a misdemeanor charge, hefty fines, and even jail. In addition, courts may impose alternative sentences for convicted parents, such as educational programs or counseling, in hopes to help provide training or support that prevents future crimes. Although every case is different, courts often favor these forms of alternative sentencing rather than sentencing parents to jail for their child’s criminal actions.
Take Legal Action Today
Kids will be kids, which is undeniably true. However, when a minor breaks the law, you may be liable. At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates, we work hard to defend you and your child’s rights. We have the necessary experience and understanding of parental responsibility laws to minimize the impact and pursue the best possible outcome for your case. If you live in Kentucky and your minor child has committed a crime, take legal action today that best protects you and your child.
The Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates serves minors and their families in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, as well as the surrounding communities of Louisville, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, and Radcliff.
Contact our legal team today to get the help you need now.