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An underage drug offense could damage your child's educational hopes

Even the brightest and most promising of teenagers make mistakes in judgment. Many teenagers experiment with drugs, from nicotine and alcohol to marijuana and even harder substances. A large number of teens who try a drug a few times won't experience any long-term ill effects.

Thanks to strict federal rules, however, your child could bear the weight of a teenage mistake for the rest of his or her life if charged with possession of illegal drugs. That's why you need to retain an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as you know of your child's arrest or charges from a drug offense.

Being a juvenile won't help in this situation

For some minor crimes, like vandalism, petty theft (shoplifting) or a schoolyard fight, your child's age can help. Judges and prosecutors may understand a minor youthful indiscretion. Sadly, when the charges are drug-related, the courts could  view your child as an adult or near adult. While sentencing may be as a juvenile offender and not an adult, one's age may not enable the teen to obtain a reduction in charges or common-sense punishments, such as community service.

A drug conviction means no federal student aid

If your child pleads guilty or is convicted of a drug offense, he or she will lose eligibility for federal student loans. Your child's best hope at a positive outcome may be agreeing to drug rehabilitation programs and random drug tests. If passed, these courses and tests can reinstate one's eligibility for federal student aid.

Overall, things would be better for your child without a drug conviction on one's criminal record. That's why it is so important to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as your child faces any type of drug charge.

An attorney can help protect your child's future

Working with an attorney can create many better options for your child. An attorney, speaking eloquently as your child's advocate, could convince the courts to dismiss the charges if your child completes substance abuse counseling. Your attorney could negotiate for a lesser, non-drug offense. Some juvenile charges are eligible for automatic restriction, or your attorney could petition the court to seal your child's record. Once sealed, parties outside the justice system cannot gain access to the record.

Depending on the circumstances of your child's arrest, an attorney may be able to help you raise a strong defense of your child in the courts. Don't risk your child's future by entrusting it to an overworked public defender. The best chance your child has at overcoming these charges will result from working with an experienced defense attorney. Contact one as soon as you know your child is facing criminal charges.

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