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

McKinney Texas Criminal Defense Law Blog

What should you know as a first-time offender?

When you're accused of a crime and it's your first offense, it can be a very confusing time in your life. If you've never been arrested or involved in the criminal justice system, you might not know what to do next, what to expect or even what your rights are.

If you've been accused of a crime, the first thing you should know is that you have a right to speak with your attorney. Whether you're facing a misdemeanor charge or felony, working with an attorney is a good idea for a few reasons.

Help children understand the dangers of addiction

As a parent, one thing you need to be aware of is the prevalence of drugs throughout the school system and community where you live. While you may not think it's much of a problem, heroin use, in particular, has been on the rise.

Now is a good time to talk to your child about drug use and to work out a solution if they are already struggling with drug abuse. While this might not seem like a conversation you need to have (after all, you have already told your children not to use drugs), it's a good time to give them a reminder.

Helping your child move forward with record sealing in Texas

For most teenagers, the mistakes and rebellions of their high school years will eventually become nothing more than stories that their parents occasionally tell. Unfortunately, for those who wind up arrested for misbehavior during their teen years, the criminal record associated with those charges could impact their life for the foreseeable future.

Your child's criminal record could affect their ability to secure admission to college. Even if they do get into a school, they may have a harder time securing funding, as everything from federal student aid to school and private scholarships will usually preclude those with criminal records from receiving financial aid. Additionally, employers and even landlords will do background checks.

If your child is caught with drugs, they could face charges

Unlawfully possessing drugs as a minor is a significant crime. If you're called because your child has been using a friend's medications and has been caught, then you should be prepared to deal with the possible consequences your child could face.

There's no question that children make mistakes. They may use prescription medications given to them from friends for any number of reasons. Perhaps they want to try something new and didn't think there would be any harm done. Maybe they intended to get high. There's a possibility a friend gave them an opioid or painkiller when they were hurt not knowing how risky that was.

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.

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

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