College presents numerous opportunities for personal growth and trying new things. But sometimes that newfound independence can turn into a brush with the law. If you find your life on campus accompanied by a DUI or other criminal charge, you face the difficult task of telling your parents about your arrest.

Go in prepared

Whether you choose to tell your parents is up to you. But if you do, there are a few things to keep in mind before you deliver the bad news.

  • Expect to face disappointment: It’s not easy for a parent to learn that their child broke the rules. After the initial reaction ebbs, disappointment will give way to acceptance and forgiveness.
  • Have an explanation: Understandably your parents will want to know the why and how. Have a general explanation ready to go, but don’t make excuses for your actions. Keep it simple and own up to what happened.
  • Keep it general: Details of your case should only be shared with your lawyer. Your parents don’t need to know the minutiae of your charge.
  • Show what you learned: Mistakes happen, but your parents will want to know how you plan to prevent something like this from happening again. Have a plan in place and stick to it.
  • Keep the lines of communication open: Your parents will want to know what’s going on. Keep them in the loop, but do not discuss the details of your case with anyone other than your attorney.

Use your best judgment

Choosing the time and place is just as important as thinking about how you want to break the news. If you’re concerned about an intense response, you could try inviting them out to eat and discussing the issue over a casual meal. Alternatively, you could ask a trusted family friend to act as a mediator to allow everyone to have a moment to speak. Over time the truth has a way of coming out and in the end, it’s just a question of whether it will be on your terms. By facing the issue head-on, you can direct the conversation and outcome.

Get help after an arrest. Attorney Anthony Palumbo has more than three decades of experience handling a range of criminal defense cases. Call 908-643-6801 or reach the firm online to schedule a no-cost initial consultation.