Aggressive & Experienced Representation Focused On You SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION

Are Parents Responsible for Their Child's Crimes? 

McCarter | East PLLC Nov. 3, 2022

Wooden Figure of Mother and Father Apart from The Child and Judge's HammerIn Tennessee, when a minor is found to be delinquent – commits a crime – that minor will be assigned a probation officer from the Department of Children’s Services for supervision.  Also, the child's parent or legal guardian may be held financially liable for their child's malicious or willful actions that result in an injury to another person or property damage. 

At McCarter | East PLLC, we have the diligence and resources to guide and represent parents facing criminal allegations for their children's actions. Our skilled Tennessee criminal defense attorneys can investigate the details of your case comprehensively and enlighten you about your parental liability, as well as the possible ramifications of your child's unlawful actions. 

In addition, we will fight vigorously to uphold your and your child's legal rights and help keep your record as clean as possible. Our firm is proud to serve clients throughout Murfreesboro and Berry Hill, Tennessee. 

Parental Responsibility Laws 

According to U.S. Supreme Court, parents have a fundamental right to bring up their children responsibly and without the government's undue interference. As a result, parental responsibility laws have been established in various states across the country, including Tennessee. These laws will hold parents and legal guardians financially and civilly liable for personal injury or property damage caused by the willful, wanton, or malicious actions of their children. 

To Whom Do They Apply? 

Additionally, the parental responsibility statutes and rules apply to: 

  • The parent or parents of the minor child. 

  • The legal guardian of the child. 

  • The parent whom the minor child lives with (parent with physical custody or custodial parent). 

However, if a parent did not have custody of the minor child when the incident happened, he or she won't be facing any financial liability. A skilled lawyer can enlighten you about the details of Tennessee's parental responsibility laws and outline an effective defense strategy for your unique situation. 

Tennessee's Parental Responsibility Law  

According to Tennessee parental responsibility law, a parent or legal guardian will be held liable for the unlawful activities of a minor child that cause injuries to persons or property where: 

  • The parent or guardian knows, or should know, of the child's tendency to commit wrongful acts that can be expected to cause injury to persons or property. 

  • The parent or guardian has an opportunity to control the child but fails to exercise reasonable means to restrain the tortious conduct. 

Willful or Malicious Conduct 

Willful or malicious conduct involves any behavior or action that a person exhibits without a justifiable excuse. If a child's willful or malicious action causes personal injury or property damages, the child's parents (excluding the non-custodial parent) or legal guardian will hold financial liability for their child's willful, illegal, or malicious actions. 

Possible Damages  

Under Tennessee’s parental responsibility law, the amount of compensation that the injured party or plaintiff may recover shall be limited to $10,000 for actual damages, plus reimbursement of the costs of bringing the claim to court. 

Possible Parental Consequences 

In addition to the parental liability, the court may order the parent to: 

  • Pay the fines imposed on the child 

  • Attend parenting classes 

  • Perform community service with the child 

An experienced attorney can determine your best defenses and ensure that you or your child do not suffer the serious penalties and implications of a criminal conviction. 

Get the Skilled Legal Advocacy You Need 

As a parent or guardian, you may not face criminal charges for your child's unlawful actions. However, you may be held financially liable for property damages or personal injury caused by your child's willful conduct or tortious activities. Hence, when facing charges for your child's actions, it is crucial that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney for proper guidance and to help build your defense. 

At McCarter | East PLLC, our attorneys have devoted their careers to protecting juveniles and their parents who are facing criminal allegations from the worst possible punishments. As your legal counsel, we can evaluate the surrounding circumstances of your unique situation and craft a strong defense strategy to help fight your charges. Also, our trusted team will represent you vigorously in every phase of the legal process and strive to help you achieve the most favorable outcome. 

Contact McCarter | East PLLC today to schedule a simple case assessment with reliable criminal defense attorneys. Our dependable legal team can offer you the personalized guidance and experienced representation you need in your case. With our Murfreesboro office only a few blocks from the courthouse, we are proud to represent clients throughout Murfreesboro and Berry Hill, Tennessee.