Recent news from The Associated Press that the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores ended with 189 people being arrested on various charges shows the need for aggressive criminal representation for juveniles in Alabama.
Birmingham Juvenile Defense Lawyers are committed to representing teens and young adults who make dumb mistakes. But what may seem like petty crimes as a kid can follow you for years if not handled properly. They can keep a teen from receiving college scholarships and loans, job opportunities, enrolling in the military and other benefits.
At the music festival, the AP reports most of the arrests pertained to underage alcohol use, driving under the influence, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and obstructing government operations. Officers from five law enforcement agencies worked the three-day festival, which about 35,000 people attended.
What this shows is that local police agencies will be working hard this spring and summer to crack down on these types of crimes. And as the weather warms up, school lets out and more weekend festivals and fairs are scheduled, teens are at a higher risk for peer pressure that can result in an arrest.
Many juveniles are introduced into the Alabama Juvenile System through a drug or alcohol charge. Unfortunately, these are serious charges and require an attorney who can minimize the penalties and work to keep the charges off the teen’s record permanently.
Alabama judges can usually choose whether to try a minor under 18 as an adult or as a juvenile. Also, young adults between 18 and 21 can apply for a one-time youthful offender status, which can reduce the possible penalties. But hiring an experienced juvenile attorney early in the process can add to the possibility that the juvenile makes his or her way into the juvenile criminal justice system rather than the adult criminal justice system.
This can make a huge difference about whether the teen ends up with probation, community service or a juvenile boot camp assignment versus serving time in an Alabama prison. It’s necessary that a one-time mistake early in a person’s life doesn’t haunt them forever. But without proper representation, a one-time charge in the summer can live on for seasons the rest of the person’s life.