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Can I Be Arrested for My Child’s Drug Use?


New Mexico Defense Attorneys Fighting Drug Charges for Parents and Kids

child's drug useKids will be kids. It is a phrase that all parents have heard and probably repeated themselves from time to time. However, what some parents may not realize is that their kids could engaged in criminal activity, and they could be the ones in trouble for it.

Under parental criminal liability laws, a parent may be held liable for the acts of the child. One common concern among parents is that of drug use. They wonder if they could be criminally liable for their child’s drug use, whether they knew about it or not. In general, it is unlikely that you would be arrested unless you were supplying your minor with the drugs, encouraging it, or knew that he or she was buying and selling drugs, and did nothing to stop it.

When your children are exposed to drugs because of you, however, you could face criminal charges.

Laws that Enforce Better Parenting

There are several laws in the state that encourage parents to take responsibility for their children and watch out for illegal activities. While there is no law specifically demanding that you be a good parent, there are side laws that could be used to charge you, as well as your juvenile, with a crime.

These laws include:

  • Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor – As an adult, this law requires you to persuade or help a minor avoid criminal acts. A minor is anyone under the age of majority, which in the state of New Mexico constitutes anyone under 18 years of age. Therefore, if you contribute or encourage your child’s drug use, such as supplying the drugs, showing how to do the drugs, or giving the child money to buy drugs, you are contributing to delinquency and you could face criminal charges.
  • Child Abuse or Neglect – Neglect is a punishable offense just as much as physically harming a child. Even if you are not physically harming your minor, you could be charged with neglect for knowing about the drug abuse and habits, yet doing nothing to stop it. If you too have a drug problem and you fail to supervise or care for your children, you could also face criminal neglect charges.
  • Parental Responsibility Laws – New Mexico Statutes Section 32A-2-27 covers parental responsibility. Under this statute, a parent or legal guardian of a minor could be responsible if the child willfully or maliciously causes harm or damages. Also, as a parent, you are required to sign a minor’s driver’s license application. Therefore, if your minor is arrested for drugged driving, you may face joint liability for his or her actions.
  • Common Law Applies, Too – As a parent, you are responsible for ensuring that your child does not take reckless or careless actions that lead to the harm of others. Allowing your child to use your car when knowing he or she is under the influence at the time could result in your facing criminal charges, as well as civil liability.

The Reality: You Most Likely Will Not Face Charges, but Your Child Will

Juveniles can be charged with adult-level crimes depending on the severity of the act. If your juvenile was drugged driving and caused a serious accident, the charges may be taken to adult courts instead of juvenile court.

Therefore, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. To assess your case, and determine if you could be held liable for your child’s acts, you need a criminal defense law firm on your side.

Schedule a free case evaluation at 505-375-4661 or contact us online with your legal questions.