It is not uncommon for school personnel to find controlled or banned substances on a student in high school, either in a locker or a backpack or even on the student. Teenagers tend to take risks without the necessary reflection or prior judgement about the possible consequences of their actions.
If authorities at your child’s school have found your child in possession of a substance such as marijuana or Xanax or another unauthorized or illegal drug, your child is now likely to enter the juvenile justice system. This is a critical juncture in your child’s life because it can mean the difference between a permanent record and the opportunity to successfully pave a path to the future.
After a juvenile arrest
Authorities can charge a juvenile, considered a minor under age 18, with a drug crime. The difference is that the juvenile justice system works with minors and your child will not be subject to the adult criminal justice system. The juvenile system has its own particular way of operating and its own separate court system and detention system. In Texas, a probation officer will begin an investigation into charges filed by authorities against your child. Judges use the reports that probation officers write to help them make their court decisions.
Court-appointed defense or own attorney
Court-appointed lawyers are quite common in defending juveniles in court. These lawyers are often overworked and have higher caseloads than one attorney may reasonably handle. That means a court-appointed counsel is not as able to give your child the special attention and time that he or she most likely merits, because the attorney is working with very limited time and resources.
Criminal charges at a young age can have a decidedly negative impact on your child’s future. However, there may be several different options available to your child to help him or her avoid a permanent impact on the future and to help move forward productively from the mistake.
One of the most productive steps you can take if authorities have brought drug charges against your child is to have a consultation with a lawyer who handles juvenile justice cases. This is an investment that can have a significant result for the rest of your child’s life. Your child deserves to have a second chance, and an attorney can help you understand the charges and potential penalties your child faces.