Teens facing criminal charges are often at a critical juncture

Many of us can likely remember back to our teenage years and recall one or more things we did of which we're not proud. From sneaking out of a parent's home to attend an underage drinking party to experimenting with drugs to stealing clothing or other items from a store; even good kids make bad decisions. Teens are often highly influenced by their peers and a desire to fit. In cases where a teen is discovered by be drinking and driving or in the possession of illegal drugs, it’s important to note that one bad decision can have serious and far-reaching implications.

Minneapolis teens, who are facing criminal charges, would be wise to take such charges seriously and retain a defense attorney. Some teens and their parents wrongly assume that a teen's criminal conviction isn't a big deal because juvenile criminal records are sealed. However, a teen found guilty of crime may still be forced to serve time in a juvenile detention or rehabilitation center.

Additionally, a teen who is convicted of a crime will suffer academically and socially as a result of missing school and negative views related to their arrest and conviction. In some cases, a teen may be barred from playing school sports and participating in school activities. A college-bound teen may also discover that a criminal record results in the loss of scholarships and admission to college.

In most cases, criminal cases involving Minnesota teenagers who are under the age of 18 are heard in and decided by a judge in juvenile court. Rather than punishment, the focus of the juvenile court system is to provide a teen with counseling and opportunities to rehabilitate. Juvenile criminal records are sealed and, in most cases, expunged upon a teen turning 18. 

When it comes to juvenile crimes, teens and parents shouldn't underestimate the impact that a past mistake can have on a young person's future. Minneapolis teens who are facing criminal charges can benefit greatly from the advice, assistance and representation of an attorney. 

Source: FindLaw.com, "Criminal Procedure in Juvenile Court," 2014


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