Being a teenager is not easy. Teens can wind up learning some very difficult lessons that change the rest of their lives. This can happen if a young person makes a bad decision that leads to criminal charges.
In these situations, teens can lose educational opportunities; their career aspirations can suffer; they could wind up paying for that mistake well into adulthood. Unfortunately, many teens do not recognize these and the other consequences of criminal acts. This is especially true when it comes to certain behaviors young people often consider harmless.
Substance use and abuse
Some people consider drinking and experimenting with drugs as rites of passage in high school and college. As such, it is not uncommon for teens (especially older teenagers) to get in trouble for underage drinking, marijuana possession and other types of misdemeanors. Despite being common, such offenses are still serious and can result in academic penalties, fines, jail time and a permanent stain on a criminal record.
Just as students experiment with drugs and alcohol, many also experiment with relationships and sexuality. This can lead to young people engaging in acts like sexting.
Unfortunately, these behaviors are only increasing, according to a recent survey. Nearly 15 percent of older teenagers send sexually explicit texts or photos; 14 percent of them think such acts are not criminal or are not sure if they are criminal. However, they are crimes and can result in serious penalties, including the requirement to register as a sex offender, in some cases.
Teens get into fights and respond to situations with violence for many reasons. Some lack the coping skills to resolve disputes in non-violent ways; others are victims of or witnesses to violence at home; still others feel unable to control their impulses. Whatever the reasons may be, young people charged with assault can face penalties including fines, protective orders and jail time.
Taking criminal charges seriously
These and other criminal acts may seem harmless to teens, especially considering the fact that many young people are still developing their ability to understand the consequences of such actions. However, they can and do have very real and serious legal repercussions, so it is crucial to consult an attorney to defend against them.