Anyone convicted of a crime in New Jersey can expect to face life-changing consequences, even after completing a jail sentence, paying a fine or satisfying other penalties. A conviction often means many challenges, and some find it nearly impossible to get back on their feet.
These struggles multiply if the one convicted is a juvenile. Young people who end up in the criminal justice system often emerge with little to no hope for an optimistic future. If your child is facing criminal charges, you would be wise to understand how damaging a conviction could be and how important it is for your loved one to secure effective legal representation.
Potential outcomes following a conviction
Until recently, many juvenile offenses carried fines reaching thousands of dollars, including certain drug crimes and convictions for false alarms. If your loved one faced multiple counts, the total amount of fines might be astronomical — more than a teenager could legitimately earn within a reasonable time. Fortunately, a recently passed law has eliminated fines and excessive fees for juveniles, relieving them of that heavy burden.
However, there are other penalties youths face that can be just as detrimental to their futures. Incarceration could disrupt your loved one’s education, separate them from loving family members, and send them into a cycle of recidivism due to the lack of opportunities. Many youths face the following challenges after a conviction:
- Loss of their driving privileges
- Exclusion from military service
- Expulsion from school
- Eviction from housing
- Ineligibility for scholarships, federal student loans or other financial aid
- Disqualification from certain jobs
- Damage to the family’s reputation if the child’s case is made public
Your child may even face deportation if he or she is an immigrant. This can be devastating if your child has grown up in the U.S. and does not know his or her home country.
Fighting for your child’s future
These consequences can affect the well-being of your entire family, and your child may have a painful struggle to overcome these obstacles. You can expect it to be even more difficult if your child is a minority or is already financially disadvantaged. A conviction for a crime and the heavy penalties that follow can easily rob your child of any hopeful prospects.
This is why effective legal assistance can provide the best chance for a more positive outcome. A skillful defense can include strategies for minimizing the negative consequences and providing options that will offer your child opportunities to get back on track and move forward into a brighter future.