Children are, well, children.
And although it is sometimes hard for parents in Tennessee and elsewhere to know when their loved ones have effectively crossed the line from juvenile status to adulthood and fully informed behaviors, they do know this: the transformation from being a minor to an adult often takes many years and cannot be determined by a measuring stick that firmly applies when a young person becomes 18 or older.
All the adult readers of our criminal defense blog at the Chattanooga Law Office of Sam Byrd were once kids, and know intimately about rites of passage.
That is, they understand both vicariously and, often, from personal experience that young people -- and certainly their children -- make mistakes. It is empirically proven that adolescents' brains don't fully develop until they are several years into adulthood. Until that time, it is far from uncommon for them to behave rashly in a given instance, without due consideration for the consequences.
And that can land them -- in fact, it frequently does -- into legal hot water. Peer pressure, anger, fear, drug- or alcohol-related intoxication and other catalysts can easily spur behavior that leads to arrests and criminal charges for things like shoplifting, vandalism, drug possession, underage drinking, assault, unlawful online behaviors (like bullying and sexting) and more.
Here's a quick question: Should such indiscretions result in criminal conviction that can yield life-long adverse effects, such as lost job and school opportunities?
We don't think so, and we know that a huge majority of the general public collectively believes that youthful indiscretion is best served through education and rehabilitation rather than pure punishment.
Proven defense attorneys take special pleasure in advocating smartly and aggressively on behalf of young people who made a mistake and become embroiled in the criminal justice system.
Timely, knowledgeable and proactive representation can often help mitigate adverse results and get a young offender back on the right track and looking ahead toward the bright future that he or she deserves.