A part of becoming a teenager is learning right from wrong. Teens often explore to discover who they are and who they want to be. Part of this discovering process sometimes leads to mistakes being made. While a teen might not know what path they want to take when they graduate from high school, they do know the difference between actions that are breaking the law and actions that are abiding by the law. And unfortunately, when a teen chooses to break the law and they get caught, the consequences they will likely face could affect them for years to come.

It all depends on the charge.

There are various crimes that can be committed and the penalties your teen faces all depend on what it is they are being charged and convicted of. If your teen engaged in a serious crime and they are 17 years of age or older, they will be treated as an adult and the charge could appear on their record forever. If they are under the age 17, they will be treated as a juvenile except in certain extreme cases. Teenagers can also be charged criminally and civilly. A criminal charge could result in your teen having to:

  • Serve jail time
  • Live with an offense on their record
  • Serve probation time
  • Complete community service
  • Complete work detail
  • Pay fees
  • Pay tickets

[Source: 35th District Court of the State of Michigan]

A civil charge might be for damages filed by the person or business who pressed the criminal charges. For instance, if a teen is caught stealing, they might be looking at serving time on probation, maybe even time in jail, and having to pay fees to the courts as well as the store they stole from. Because criminal cases vary as the circumstances are usually different, we always advise that you consult with East Lansing criminal defense lawyer Stuart R. Shafer before attempting to represent yourself as this could cause you to lose out on having your teen’s penalties reduced. It is also important for you to have all the pertinent information regarding your teen’s case prior to making any decisions that could ultimately affect them for the rest of their life.

In what ways can a criminal charge affect my teen?

Once an offense goes on your child’s record, it could ultimately affect:

  • Their ability to get into college.
  • Their chances of getting a job.
  • Their driving privileges.  Certain crimes could lead to having their license suspended or revoked.
  • And if they are convicted of a drug offense that goes on their permanent record, they may become ineligible to receive federal student financial aid.

Because a criminal charge can have such an adverse effect on your teen’s future, we recommend you give us a call to ensure you are properly represented and understand the degree of your child’s charges. You can give us a call now at 517-487-6603 and schedule a time to discuss your teen’s case with a qualified Lansing, Michigan criminal defense lawyer.

Aside from Lansing and East Lansing, the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. also provides our services to those living in Dewitt, Okemos, Grand Ledge, St. Johns, and Charlotte.