Terri Daniel, Attorney at Law, PLLCTerri DanielAttorney at Law, PLLC

McKinney Texas Criminal Defense Law Blog

Minors and alcohol: The rules and exceptions

It's easy to think that your child doesn't have any kind of problem that would lead to issues with the law. They're just experimenting or acting out because of their age, you might think. However, you should know that children can end up in trouble, and they can break the law in ways that result in charges against them.

One of the more common issues that parents deal with is underage drinking. This is really common when kids reach 19 and 20, because their friends may finally be 21 and able to buy drinks legally. Of course, the flip-side is also true. A 21-year-old person can easily get into trouble with the law if they provide drinks to younger individuals.

Do you have to report it if your child commits a crime?

It can be absolutely devastating to find out that your child has broken the law. Whether it's drinking and driving or breaking and entering, there's nothing you wouldn't do to have them take back their actions and avoid the consequences that could come their way if they're reported.

The truth is that children are going to make mistakes, but that doesn't mean that they will continue to do things to get into trouble with the law. This might be a one-time offense that you can use to teach your child a lesson, or it may be a repeat occurrence that you need to handle now.

Does your child have a problem with authority?

There is no question that your child is their own person. They have a strong personality and have always had a sense of what they want to do. If someone tries to get in their way, they can become aggressive or even violent.

As a parent, it's difficult to know how to handle things when your child challenges your authority or the authority that others have, but it's necessary to take steps to stop this behavior early. If your child continues to do whatever they want and to challenge authority, they could end up in trouble with the law down the road.

Can parents face charges for their children's actions?

When you have a child, you're taking on a major responsibility. You need to raise them correctly, so that they don't harm others or violate laws. You want to raise them to have good moral standards and to be kind.

Unfortunately, some kids do go through phases where they get into trouble with the law. In those cases, you might think it's only your child who has to face the consequences, but the reality may be that you're held responsible as well.

Imprisonment: A complex issue for the criminal justice system

Imprisonment was not always what it is today in the United States. However, a series of law enforcement actions and sentencing policy changes meant that there was a dramatic increase in the number of people going to prison.

The War on Drugs began in the 1980s, and since then, the total number of people who are incarcerated in U.S. prisons has risen from just 40,900 in 1980 to 452,964 in 2017. This jump is particularly important to address, because many of the people in prison are there for drug crimes.

If your child is taken into custody, learn what to expect next

Juvenile crimes are taken seriously in Texas. While adults know that children make mistakes and do things that they later regret, juvenile crimes are still punishable by law. The courts are generally understanding but will move to prosecute and convict minors who have committed crimes.

Officers are able to issue warnings for minor offenses instead of taking a child into custody. A warning notice copy will be sent to parents if that happens. With probable cause, however, an officer does have a right to take your child into custody.

Juvenile drug crimes can lead to trouble

Juvenile drug crimes happen when a person under the age of 18 is in possession of, distributes or otherwise manipulates a restricted or illicit substance without a legal reason for doig so. Possessing illegal drugs is a crime in every state, and that possession can lead to serious penalties.

Parents of children who have been accused of possessing drugs or other drug crimes should know that this is the right time to reach out to an attorney for support. Even juveniles can face penalties that impact them for a significant length of time into the future.

Here are some ways to handle the stress of a first-time offense

If you have committed a crime and this is the first time you've done so, then you're a first-time offender. A first-time offense can be challenging in a lot of ways. You may have guilt about what happened or struggle to understand what charges you face.

This is when working with your attorney is a smart choice. Your attorney will help in many ways, starting by helping you understand the charges you face. Knowing those, the potential penalties and any alternative options you have can help you feel more secure in the future.

Alternative penalties can help those addicted to drugs or alcohol

Texas is one of a few states that now employ the use of alternatives to incarceration for some cases. There have been many reforms throughout the state, and there has been a realization that imprisonment itself is not always the best solution for those who have violated the law.

As someone who has offended or who faces charges, it's important to know your full rights in regard to alternatives to incarceration, especially if you are struggling with substance abuse. It's a well-known fact that those struggling with substance abuse need treatment and are less likely to reoffend if they receive treatment rather than incarceration.

What should I do after learning my child is selling drugs?

As a parent, you always want to be able to protect your child. But after they reach a certain age, you will come to realize that it is very difficult to know what they are doing and with whom they are spending time. Additionally, you will learn that it is impossible to control their behavior and actions. Conversely, attempts to control their actions will often provoke rebellious behavior. 

If you have recently learned that your teenage child is using and selling drugs, it's likely that you feel shocked, angry and upset. You may have had your suspicions for some time, but gaining confirmation of these troubling activities is very difficult. It's important that you think carefully about how to address the matter. The following are some things that you should consider when learning about your child's criminal activities. 

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Terri Daniel, Attorney at Law, PLLC
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McKinney, TX 75072

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