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A mom is facing charges after her son had “an accident” in a gas station parking lot.

When can you be held responsible when your child breaks the law?

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“Accidents happen.”

Georgia mom Brooke Johns reacting to her son's recent potty-training mishap. Johns pulled into a gas station when her 3-year-old alerted her he had to use the bathroom. Johns, who is 8+ months pregnant & on doctor's orders not to lift her son, tried to rush him into the gas station. They didn't make it in time and despite Johns trying to cover her son in the parking lot, an officer saw the incident and wrote her a ticket.
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“She allowed her male child to urinate in the parking lot.”

The ticket charging Johns with violating Georgia's disorderly conduct law. Johns says she tried to explain her situation to the officer, but he wasn't persuaded. Now she is due in court days before her due date. If convicted, she faces up to 60 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
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Children & The Law

  • State laws vary regarding at what age a minor can be charged with a crime and what type of crime.
  • Usually parents won’t be charged when their minor child commits an illegal act unless it’s a result of a lack of monitoring, supervising, or rectifying their kid’s actions.
  • That’s why Johns was charged – she’s accused of failing to prevent her son from urinating in public.
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Something To Consider:

  • Sometimes not preventing your child from breaking the law, whether it is intentional, accidental or otherwise, is a crime in and of itself.
  • Examples: You let your (unlicensed) minor drive a car or allow your child to drink alcohol in your home.
  • Parental liability *usually* starts after age of 8.
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Even if you're not criminally charged for your kid's conduct, you may still be on the line to pay for it. Let's say your 12-year-old vandalized a neighbor's home. When it comes time to pay for it - neither your neighbor nor the courts will be relying on your kid's piggy bank - they'll come for yours.

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