You get a call that every parent dreads—your teenager or young adult son or daughter has been arrested and charged with a crime. You probably feel immensely disappointed and angry at your child for making a bad decision, and you might be tempted to use this opportunity to teach them a lesson about irresponsible behavior. Or maybe you are so upset by their actions that you believe they should suffer the appropriate legal consequences.
However, as a criminal defense law firm that has represented many juveniles and young adults over the years, we can tell you that the consequences often far exceed what’s needed to teach your child a lesson and get them on the right path. If convicted of certain crimes, your child’s future could be forever changed. But with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you might be able to give your child a shot at a bright future—and isn’t that what every parent wants for their children?
Common High School and College Student Crimes in Virginia
Teens and young adults do dumb stuff, and some of those things are more than just dumb—they’re illegal. If your child is under 18, less serious crimes might be sealed from the general public, but they will be required to disclose any convictions when applying to college, which could jeopardize their chances of acceptance. Felonies committed as a juvenile will give them a criminal record for life. These are serious consequences.
If your child is arrested and charged with any of the following crimes, it’s important that you give them a chance to turn their life around by hiring the best criminal defense attorney:
- DUI or other alcohol charges. Alcohol-related crimes include drunk driving, minor in possession of alcohol, and public intoxication. If your son or daughter crashed while driving drunk and someone was injured, or they were violent or belligerent when they were arrested, the charges could be much more serious than a misdemeanor.
- Assault. If your child pushed around a romantic partner or was involved in a fight—even if the fight does not become physical—they could be charged with assault. If any kind of weapon is involved or anyone is seriously hurt, an assault could be escalated to a felony charge.
- Sex crimes. Young men, in particular, can be confused about what constitutes consensual sex, but their confusion will not protect them from rape charges. A conviction could result in prison time and an end to their education and career prospects.
- Drug possession. It is still illegal for people under the age of 21 to possess marijuana, and it is illegal for adults to possess more than an ounce or to sell it without a license. Misunderstanding this law gets a lot of college kids into trouble.
- Property crimes. A young person might see shoplifting, toilet-papering a house, or “borrowing” someone’s car as a prank, but the police will see it as theft or vandalism. A skilled defense attorney might be able to help the court see the difference.
Regardless of what the criminal charges are, an experienced private defense lawyer will do everything they can to secure the best possible outcome for their client. This might mean clearing up a misunderstanding, negotiating for a lesser charge or minimal punishment, or presenting a strong defense at trial. Trust us when we say that 99 percent of our young clients have learned a very valuable lesson during this process, even when they aren’t found guilty.
An Experienced Defense Attorney Can Make All the Difference
If your teen or 20-something is charged with a crime in Virginia, you can be disappointed and angry, you can take away their car or cut them off financially, and you can even kick them out of your house. However, you should hire an experienced lawyer to achieve the best possible outscome. That is why it is important that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away. Doing so does not make you look more guilty. Instead, it protects you from a worst-case scenario. If you have been charged with a crime, contact us online or call our office at 757-410-5042.