Minors And Gun Possession Charges: Four Possible Outcomes
Gun possession laws do not discriminate when it comes to what's legal and what's not. For this reason, if a juvenile is illegally in possession of a weapon, they can face harsh consequences. If your child was arrested on a possession charge, it's a good idea for you to understand exactly what it is your family is up against.
In rare cases, the judge may decide to dismiss the charge. This type of outcome might happen if there is a lack of sufficient evidence to support that the minor had the weapon. A judge might also choose this course if your child has a clean criminal history and appears to be on the right track, and it's clear the child made a singular bad decision. A dismissal would be the best possible outcome in this situation.
Community Service Or Diversion
Your child might be ordered to perform a predetermined number of community service hours at an organization assigned by the court. While the sentence might seem minor, if your son or daughter does not complete the hours as agreed they could face further consequences, including jail time. A diversion program is another option, such as a youth-program designed to teach teens about making good decisions. Typically, with diversion programs, if the child successfully completes the program, the charge is erased from their record.
Probation is not an ideal result for your child, because probation for a minor operates in the same fashion as probation for an adult. Any type of violation could lead to further consequences and not just in terms of staying out of trouble, as some programs might even require that the student maintain certain grades while in school. Another drawback is that probation can last for years, so during the entire period, your child would need to stay on track.
A judge might also decide to escalate the charges if he or she believes the specifics of the case warrant this action. For example, if the child was caught with the weapon while in route to fight another teenager, a judge might look at the severity of the child's actions and decide to charge he or her as an adult. Being charged as an adult increases the likelihood that the child could spend some time behind bars, that they will have a permanent criminal record, and that they could spend some time on probation. Additionally, if your child has a prior criminal record, they could face elevated charges.
Don't jeopardize your child's freedom and criminal record. It's essential you speak with a gun possession attorney to ensure your child's case reaches the best possible outcome.