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Special considerations regarding juvenile criminal offenders

Here's a preliminary point we seek to focus upon in today's post, aimed specifically at parents throughout Arkansas.

Harken back for a moment to your high-school days, or even a bit further back to when you were just a young kid.

You were perfect, right?

OK, rephrased: Notwithstanding your many virtues, you also had a propensity to perhaps get into trouble from time to time. You tested some boundaries and indulged in a few escapades that didn't exactly reflect best judgment on your part.

Was that singular? Were you unusual?

Looking back now, from the vantage point of parenthood, we can all see that adolescence is centrally about learning, often through trial and error.

Here's that above point: Kids seem to be held to a different standard of accountability these days. That shoplifting incident you might have been involved in as a juvenile -- or perhaps that drinking party; the misguided notion to bring a knife to school and show it off; the token amount of marijuana you bought and smoked with friends and so forth -- is likely to be adjudged far more critically by authorities currently than it was "back in the day."

That's just a fact and a reflection of a new social reality. Kids get expelled from school these days for doing things that would have resulted in a scolding a generation ago. A rebuke from a police officer for a misguided act 20 years ago might now lead to an arrest and the filing of a criminal charge.

We are intimately familiar with the scope and contours of juvenile/police interaction at the Little Rock-based Robertson Law Firm. We know that temporary lapses of judgment followed by actions that were often not mean spirited or malicious in any way can yield potentially weighty criminal consequences for a youthful offender.

We also know that the law recognizes the unique nature of juveniles -- that is, their relative immaturity and, in most cases, notably redemptive qualities -- and often provides them with options and alternatives in criminal matters that are not so readily available to adult offenders.

We invite Arkansas parents with questions or concerns regarding a juvenile offender to visit us online at our Little Rock Juvenile Crime page.

We welcome reader contacts.

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