Parents in Virginia understandably want to do everything to protect their children when they are facing criminal charges. As a parent, you may worry about your teen’s future and have concerns about the impact a criminal conviction could have on your teenager’s life. Juveniles are usually subject to different laws when it comes to drug offenses, especially if it’s their first offense. If your teen is facing a drug-related charge, it’s helpful for you to understand their rights so you can do everything possible to protect them.
What happens when a juvenile is charged with their first drug offense?
Drug charges can be severe, and a conviction can significantly impact a juvenile’s life. In Virginia, it is considered a first offense if the minor has not been found delinquent in any state of an offense related to illegal substances. These substances may include marijuana, stimulants, depressants, narcotics, and other illegal drugs.
Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile but in extreme cases they may be charged as an adult. If your teenager is facing criminal charges for the first time, it’s important to understand that the court usually prefers to provide access to treatment rather than jail time. While it can be a scary process, as a parent it’s important to help your child understand the consequences of a conviction and provide guidance on how to get through the process.
Formulating a defense
Teenagers often make impulsive decisions that can get them into trouble. This doesn’t mean they are bad kids, which is why it’s essential for you to help your teen understand how best to defend against any formal accusations. The proper defense depends on the circumstances so it’s helpful to work with an attorney that can help you and your teen decide how best to proceed forward.
Keep in mind that the court may order your child to commit to a drug treatment program. Juveniles are often also required to take regular drug tests. With a first offense, a judge may be more lenient and provide opportunities for your child to maintain as much normalcy in their life as possible during this difficult time.
Legal assistance is important
When your teen is accused of a drug-related crime, you may not be sure where to turn. Your main concern should be helping your child stay positive and providing support throughout the process. Navigating the Virginia juvenile court system can be daunting for both parents and the accused juvenile. By seeking help from an attorney, you can provide your child with the best chance of defending themselves against the charges and getting their life back on track.