Teens today face challenges we never did. We did not have to navigate the benefits and risks of social media or grow up during a pandemic. Some are lucky enough to find healthy ways to navigate these stressors while others may fall into dangerous habits. As parents, we work hard to try to keep our children safe. But what happens when they make a mistake?
The police arrested my child. Now what?
First, take a breath. Know that you are not alone. Parents throughout the country need to navigate this type of issue all the time. It is also important to note that you can have legal counsel represent your child. This can help to better ensure your child’s rights are protected throughout the process.
The authorities have charged my child with a crime involving heroin. Is this bad?
State and federal law generally classify heroin as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. These come with some of the most aggressive penalties. In New Hampshire, possession of any amount of heroin can result in the potential for prison time and a hefty fine.
If the authorities also try to accuse the child of selling the substance, the penalties can increase significantly and will vary depending on the amount of heroin the child has in their possession. Less than one gram can come with 7 years and $100,000 fine, one to five grams can come with 20 years imprisonment and a $300,000 fine, more than five grams can come with 30 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.
Various factors can increase these penalties. These can include a criminal record of previous offenses and the location of the alleged crime. If the child was near a school when the police claim they found the heroin the authorities can push for double the penalties.
Are there defenses to these types of allegations?
Those charged with these crimes can build a defense, but the exact strategy will vary based on the details of the case. In some, it may make sense to challenge how the evidence was gathered. If police do not follow proper protocol the court may throw the evidence out and drop the charges. This could include a review of the stop and investigation as well.
It is also important to review the elements of the crime. Each charge comes with specific criteria, or elements the prosecution must prove. This strategy focuses on fighting the prosecution’s attempts to prove these elements.
Finding the right defense strategy can result in a reduction or dismissal of charges. This can help to reduce the negative impact of this mistake on your child’s future.