Parenting a teenager isn’t easy. Sometimes, you barely can get them to talk to you. Sometimes, they stay in their room for hours. Sometimes, they make bad decisions when they are spending time with their friends on a Friday or Saturday night. At some point, your teen may decide to experiment with drugs, like meth or opioids, at a party or notorious teen hangout spot. Then if police catch them, they could be facing serious drug charges before they are even old enough to vote.
So, what should you do if police arrest your teen for drug possession or intent to sell or distribute drugs? What should you know about how Tennessee handles juvenile crimes?
Tennessee and juvenile crime
In Tennessee, about 8.8% of all arrests in 2019 were of juveniles under the age of 18. Of those juvenile arrests, 16.01% were for drug or narcotics violations.
In general, juveniles face lower consequences for a drug conviction than those over 18. However, here are some of the penalties your teen could face with a drug conviction:
- A driver’s license suspension or revocation
- Mandated drug counseling
- Mandated participation in a diversion program. If they complete it, they could have their criminal record expunged.
- Probation, including limitations on travel, required school or work attendance and possibly community service hours
- Detention, which includes home confinement or spending time in a juvenile detention center
What to do when your teen is facing drug charges
If police charge your teen with a drug offense, you need to consult an experienced criminal law attorney as soon as possible. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to get the charges against your teen reduced or dismissed. You may be able to negotiate your teen entering a diversion program that they can get a conviction removed from their record.
Teenagers sometimes make big mistakes. With the right help, you can ensure your child gets a second chance and avoids having a drug conviction impact their ability to get a job and start their adult life with a clean slate.