*2024 Results: Approx. 99% of Mark Zinck's clients avoided a criminal record (conviction) for charges of theft, fraud, assault, mischief and threats.

How parents can help their adult children who have been charged with a criminal offence by the police

Many accused young adults depend on their parents for assistance defending themselves.

In criminal law once a person turns 18 they are classified as an adult and subject to a potential permanent criminal record that can impact them for the rest of their lives. While legally an adult, they may not yet be mature enough or have the necessary financial resources to properly respond to criminal charges.

Many of the calls we get are from parents whose adult children (18+) have been criminally charged. The parents recognize the seriousness of the situation, however their child may not currently be in the right state of mind to take the proper steps to defend themselves. It is quite common for young adults to still rely on their parents who have a greater sense of responsibility and appreciation for long term consequences.

Parents of accused adult children can best help by hiring a lawyer to represent them as soon as possible.

When someone is charged with a criminal offence, particularly as a first time offender, it is paramount that they have counsel working their case from the beginning to try to get the best result. A lawyer helps put the case on the right track and differentiates them from the unrepresented. It is important that nothing is done to make the case worse and that time sensitive opportunities are not needlessly lost.

Unfortunately, some young adults don’t have parents to support them and end up worse off because their case is not handled properly. It is very easy to both get caught up in the criminal justice system and be put on the wrong track. A lawyer helps protect the accused from this happening.

Parents of young adults in their late teens, 20s, and 30s should take steps to help their child defend the charges if they have the ability to do so.

When your adult child gets charged with a crime, it can be tempting to say “let them deal with the consequences themselves” and try to distance yourself from it. A lot of parents do take this approach. The problem is that if your child goes to jail or gets a criminal record, it may render them unemployable or unable to earn a living and support themselves in the future. This is not helpful and will only cause them to become even more dependent on their parents.

Even if your child made a mistake out of anger, intoxication, peer pressure, or greed this does not necessarily mean they are irredeemable. A lot of young people who get criminally charged will learn from the experience and eventually get their life together. It is very sad when these people lose out on future work opportunities because of a permanent case outcome that could have been avoided had their charges been handled properly by a lawyer from the start.

What types of criminal cases do parents normally call for?

Young adults get charged with all different types of crime, but the 5 most common types of cases parents call us for are:
  1. sexual assault
  2. assault, uttering threats, mischief (property damage)
  3. domestic charges involving a partner or spouse (sometimes the adult child has to move back home when they get charged)
  4. DUI, impaired driving, refusal
  5. child pornography, child luring, and child sexual interference
What if the parent themselves is the alleged victim?

Sometimes we do an affidavit of non-prosecution to help convince the Crown Attorney to change release conditions and drop the charges if this is what you want to happen. An affidavit can also be used by the defence to help persuade the court to give a lenient sentence in the event your child is later found guilty.

Domestic violence allegation cases

In domestic cases, often the adult child will be forced to move back home with their parents because of their release conditions. A no-contact condition will usually be included on the Undertaking (Form 10) or Release Order (Form 11) which forbids them from attending at their previous residence (where their spouse still lives).

Younger adult accused may choose to move back in with their parents while the charges are pending for financial and other reasons. In some cases the parents may have had to agree to be their child’s surety for them to be released. Surety supervision may or may not require them to live at home in the family residence.

Just because your adult child has a history of mental health issues such as ADHD, PTSD, anxiety or depression doesn’t mean their charges will be treated lightly in court.

For a lot of young adults, being criminally charged is usually not the first time they have gotten in trouble. Many have had a long history of disciplinary problems at home or in school. Whether formally diagnosed or not, mental health and addictions issues are common. While what they are going through may be a temporary phase, it is important to remember that the long term result of the case will impact them permanently.

Even if a doctor’s note may have resolved disciplinary issues at school or in other areas of their life in the past, the criminal justice system does not work this way. The vast majority of defendants have or have had issues with mental health. It is certainly not a get out of jail free card that will make everything go away.

Mental health and addictions issues are commonplace and not unusual.

It is quite normal and almost expected for an accused to have at least some MH issues (even if only anxiety and depression, which can be debilitating). Most of these individuals still meet the standard of criminal responsibility and are subject to a finding of guilt in court. Ontario’s jails are filled with people who have diagnosed mental health issues.

It is also important to remember that pursuing a mental health defence strategy may not be the accused’s best option in a lot of cases. It is the job of their lawyer to explore, present, and assess all potential defence options. In some cases, an accused could be detained indefinitely in the mental health system (the case never ends).

Your child may be falsely accused and need your support now more than ever.

Another reason parents should support their children who get charged is because sometimes people are innocent and falsely accused. It is extremely easy to be charged by the police. All they need is a statement from someone alleging that the accused did something wrong and they will charge them. A false accusation can be made by anyone with an agenda.

From the perspective of the police, it is the job of the courts to decide whose evidence is believable. They simply gather the evidence (perhaps just a statement) and put it before the courts. If your child has been charged with an offence this does not mean that they are guilty or did anything wrong at all.

If your child is vulnerable, not in a good state of mind or only has limited financial resources they may need your help to properly defend themselves.

For an accused young adult with their entire life ahead of them the criminal justice system is an absolutely devastating process to be forced into. They may not be reacting in a way that best protects their long term interests and need your help.

If you are looking to help your child and discuss their potential options, give us a call today for a free consultation.

   Call us today.

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with criminal offences throughout Ontario, Canada.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on criminal law protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record and conviction.

    call now: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance about avoiding jail and/or a criminal record, employment background checks, IRCC/immigration applications and status, or travel to the U.S. in the future. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can respond to calls and emails relating to current Ontario criminal cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a criminal case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.

*2024 Results: the percentage of 99% of clients avoiding a criminal record (conviction) stated on this page is based solely on Lawyer Mark Zinck's personal representation of approximately 2000 criminal defence case clients as of the year 2024. Past results are not necessarily an indication of future results.


Your questions and concerns are extremely important to me.


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   Criminal Information:

   We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice and services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel