As a parent, you probably feel overwhelmed and concerned about the criminal charges your teen faces. You may also be confused about how it happened and what to do next, as it is your child’s first offense.
With the right juvenile criminal defense attorney, you likely will have little to worry about. A lawyer experienced in working with minors can help you to understand the situation and how to address it most effectively to ensure it does not happen again. Your attorney can also help to reduce the consequences of the offense.
Understanding the situation
Teenagers’ brains have not fully developed yet, particularly in the area associated with behavioral judgment and assessment, the frontal lobe. This means that your teen has a harder time making good choices under peer pressure, stress or even excitement. He or she may not think about the consequences of actions and instead act on impulse. On the other hand, your teen may not have a clear understanding of consequences. This mental immaturity probably influenced your child’s poor behavior.
Also consider any changes in your teen’s home life, friendships, relationships and school life. These may be relevant factors as well and can lead you to finding appropriate help for your son or daughter.
Reducing the long-term consequences of a juvenile offense
Your best course of action is to hire a criminal defense lawyer who has experience with the juvenile justice system. Doing so can lead to more favorable and effective penalties, such as:
- Community service
- Rehabilitation programs
- Deferred prosecution
- Lesser charges
- Sealed records
These lower the challenges your teen may face in education and employment opportunities. Having legal representation also increases the chances that your teen will receive fair and respectful treatment and an outcome that is in your son or daughter’s best interest. This, in turn, will increase the chances that your child will not repeat the offense and will stay out of trouble in the future.