Raising a teenager isn’t easy. After all, teenagers aren’t exactly known for having the best decision-making powers. In many ways, despite their rapidly maturing brains and bodies, they are still very young. Teenagers often do not thoroughly consider the consequences of their actions.
Combine that with hormones and the social stresses of high school, and you have the recipe for a potential legal disaster. An argument in the high school hallways or at a sporting event could quickly spiral out of control and result in a physical altercation. If one or more of the people involved ends up severely injured or chooses to press charges, the end result could be serious juvenile criminal consequences for the teenagers involved in the fight.
The courts aren’t likely to just look the other way
There was a time when law enforcement and prosecutors alike would scoff at the idea of bringing criminal charges against a teenager for a school-related fight unless the outcome was tragic. Teens could expect a slap on the wrist and potentially some consequences at school.
However, modern students get held to a higher standard of behavior when it comes to violence, especially inside educational institutions. Whether your child struck another student or hit a teacher or security officer who was only attempting to intervene, it is possible that they could face serious criminal charges, including assault, which is a serious crime.
If your child pleads guilty or gets convicted, they could face heavy consequences. These could include incarceration, fines, probation and expulsion from school. Any conviction could impact the ability to secure jobs in the future and could affect your teen’s college dreams as well. It is in your best interest as a parent to help your child defend against criminal charges related to a physical altercation at school.
Learn as much as you can to help your child develop a defense
Nothing in high school happens in a vacuum. There are many different factors that contribute to these sorts of altercations on high school grounds. Perhaps your child was the victim of bullying, and the school failed to intervene. Maybe your child inserted themselves into an existing dispute in the hopes of protecting a smaller or more vulnerable student. It’s also possible that trauma in the recent history of one of the children involved led to the escalation of the situation.
The better you understand the contributing factors for the fight, the easier it will be for you to establish a defense against the criminal charges. Whether you attempt to defend on grounds of self-defense or diminished capacity, there are many options available. Exploring these carefully is usually in the best interest of the teenager involved, as well as the people responsible for him or her.