The juvenile justice system exists in part to protect minors who make questionable legal decisions from lifelong consequences related to those mistakes. The focus on these programs is generally to minimize the penalties for minors. Juvenile justice is usually about rehabilitation, not punishment, but that doesn’t mean that juvenile convictions aren’t a serious matter.
Given that the consequences for juvenile justice convictions may seem less serious than the penalties associated with adult criminal charges, some adults with children facing criminal charges may mistakenly think that they don’t need to take their child’s pending juvenile charges as seriously as adult criminal offenses.
That belief can lead people to take inadequate action to protect their child’s future. In fact, it is a common mistake for people to forego retaining a criminal defense attorney because they assume that a conviction won’t really impact their child.
In reality, failing to take a careful approach to pending juvenile charges could impact your child for the rest of their lives. That means it could also affect you for many years to come.
An attorney knows how to navigate juvenile criminal charges
Much like the adult criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system in Minnesota is complex and convoluted. Without proper legal representation, your child’s case may not wind up heard in juvenile court, but, rather, standard criminal court. It’s also possible for the state to try your teenager as an adult, in some cases.
On your own, you may not be able to get the courts to treat your child as a juvenile, much less secure reduced consequences for your teenager. An attorney understands what charges and circumstances qualify a young adult for a rehabilitation program. More importantly, they understand the Minnesota juvenile justice system, as well as common strategies for defending against criminal charges.
An attorney can help your family bounce back from a charge
From the sealing of records to strategies for avoiding incarceration, attorneys with experience in defending juvenile offenders can help families navigate the criminal charges facing teenagers. Even nonviolent, minor charges such as those related to the possession of alcohol could have a lasting impact for your young adult.
Drug charges, in particular, can prove to be a lifelong burden for teenager offenders. Unless they take steps to seal or expunge their record, it is possible that a youthful drug conviction could mean never attending college.
Circumstances have different opportunities for criminal defense strategies. There is no one solution that works for every case, even when looking at the same juvenile offenses. Your best option will involve sitting down with an experienced Minnesota juvenile justice attorney to talk about defense strategies and your options.