Boise Criminal Lawyer and Juvenile OffensesOne of the more difficult areas of criminal law is juvenile law; not because the laws are more complex but because it can be a very emotional area of the law. As a Boise Criminal Attorney I often counsel parents who are considering turning their children in or those who have already done so. The behavior of the juveniles range from relatively minor offenses such as possession of a very small amount of marijuana or coming home drunk from a party to very dangerous and serious offenses like possession of large amounts of drugs like marijuana, meth or prescription drugs, DUI or sex related crimes. Parents generally are very stressed out and need help dealing with the bad behavior of their children. While I counsel them in the law, I always stress the importance of finding a mental health professional to help them with the emotional and psychological issues these kind of stressors create. While I have a few professionals whom I may suggest to them, I always tell them they need to find the right professional for them. A friend, a lawyer, any of the many web directories can all suggest the best mental health professional, but they need to find someone with whom they work well.
What Causes Juveniles to Engage in Crimes Such as Possession of Marijuana, DUI, Intent to Distribute or Sex Crimes?As a Boise Criminal Attorney I often see these juvenile crimes through the eyes of a Boise Divorce Attorney not because these juveniles are availing themselves of a Boise Divorce Lawyers, but because divorce can create acting out issues for children and teens alike. While children may manifest the stress of divorce by wetting the bed, extended crying at a parent's absence or acting out at school, juveniles often act out in more destructive ways. This will often manifest itself in partying, possession of alcohol or possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. Teens may also engage in activities which aren't exactly criminal in nature, but left unaddressed may become criminal; ditching school, untempered behavior and the like.
Not all juvenile behavior is the result of divorce, but some can be the result of the family law context. For example, people may be having family law issues which create juvenile issues for teens. A teen who is sexually abused by a step-parent or step-sibling may themselves become a sex offender. Teens may run away and engage is prostitution. Teens who see violence in the home or who are victims of violence in the home may become abusers themselves.
There also is a certain amount of "normal" teen acting out which may get out of hand and become criminal in nature. Further down this spectrum is when you have a "normal" family but there is conflict between the teen and one of the parents. There can be jockeying for power or resentment at parental control. If these situations are not handled carefully they can result in serious acting out leading to criminal behavior.
When do You Turn Your Child in to Law Enforcement?This is perhaps the most difficult question to answer. Psychologists tell me that tough love is the answer. Cut your child off. As a parent, myself, this seems beyond harsh. Tough love proponents say the only way to get a kid to stop their destructive behavior is to let them hit rock bottom. Helping them is only enabling them. The problem I have with this approach is you can set your child up to be embroiled in the legal system and once they are in there it can be difficult to extract them. The other issue to consider is that you may set your child up to have one or more felony charges. A felony charge never goes away. They may be able to get a withheld judgment, but there is no guarantee of that especially if they have several felony charges.
So do you just let them keep destroying their life and yours? Do you continue to enable them? This is not what I am suggesting. I think that availing yourself, your teen and your family to the help of mental help professionals really needs to be the first step, unless of course the teen is threatening or engaging in a crime that can cause serious bodily injury or death to themselves or another. Having been a criminal attorney for over 20 years I have seen what the system can do and I have seen how mental health professionals can help prevent harm.
Take advantage of that free online directory and find a mental health professional to help you through this situation. If you are more comfortable speaking with a Boise Criminal Attorney we would be happy to help you too. What ever you choose, the choice has to be yours and should never be made in the heat of anger or frustration. Your child's life is at stake. It is understandable that you want to help them, but please take the time to consider the best way to help them. Too many times parents come to me who have turned their child in. They often say, "he is really a good kid", "she just hit a rough patch", "we decided to teach them a lesson" and bang they are entangled in the legal system. Ultimately, however, you have to decide what is best for your child.
If you need to speak to a Boise Criminal Lawyer, give us a call, (208) 472-2383 and see what we can do for you.