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You are doing your best to raise a kind, respectful and successful young adult. You want your child to have endless opportunities for a college education and future employment.

Can one mistake jeopardize your child’s future? Although you never thought your child would experiment with drugs, you’re now facing the reality that your child did — and they got caught.

As a parent, what options do you have?

To prepare yourself for what lies ahead, you may want to start researching juvenile sentencing, possession penalties and a good defense attorney. Preparing yourself for what’s to come may be the start to a solid defense strategy.

Next, a parent will want to understand how a conviction may impact their child’s future. In the past, harsh sentencing for juveniles has lead to a lifetime of repercussions, with regards to education, career and likelihood to re-offend. Recently, the juvenile justice system has seen reform.

What penalties might a juvenile face?

For a non-violent drug possession charge, your teen may be eligible for a short sentence in a community-based facility. These facilities provide programs that aim to provide treatment for mental health issues or behavioral problems. The program may also offer counseling when your teen returns home.

As of 2018, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act extended provisions for Tennessee juveniles, such as:

  • Expanding community-based guidance and limiting detention facility sentencing
  • Limiting the length of custody
  • Minor offenses committed while the juvenile is on probation will be handled outside of court

The adverse effects your child may face depend on the criminal accusations. More severe criminal offenses may result in mandatory sentencing to secure hardware facilities.

The recent push for juvenile justice reform aims to help children learn from their mistakes and create a better future for themselves.