When juveniles need help against sex-crime allegations

Actually, the above headline for today’s post might be reasonably expanded to denote the necessity that juveniles in Indiana and elsewhere are always in dire need of timely, well-considered and aggressive legal defense representation when targeted in a sex-crime investigation.

As we note on a relevant page of our website at the Indianapolis criminal law firm of Patel Defense, the reason for that is obvious, namely this: “A sex crime charge can destroy your life.”

An allegation surrounding an alleged sex crime is instantly stigmatizing and quite assured of being responded to by criminal authorities in an unquestionably serious manner.

And that doesn’t matter if you’re a teen, or even if you perceived the alleged criminal act you committed as being something that wasn’t wrong or that could conceivably yield stark criminal consequences.

A recent national news article discusses the potential for trouble that modern Internet technology (think smartphones and online social media sites) brings for adolescents. That article prominently notes the dangers posed to young users by online adult sexual predators.

But it also underscores the criminal dimensions associated with a youthful offender’s engagement in things like sexting. Many young people predictably take actions that lack a bit of judgment and aren’t fully thought out in advance. They act like, well, teenagers.

Notwithstanding their youthful impulses, though, dire consequences can attach when online behavior is deemed criminal by law enforcers. For example, an innocently sent photo can be construed by an investigator or prosecutor as an act of child pornography.

Is engaging in sexting or otherwise unconsidered online behavior unwise?

Certainly it is.

Should it potentially bring lifelong adverse consequences, such as registration as a sex offender and a permanent criminal record?

Many reasonable people — parents, educators and law enforcement officials themselves — clearly don’t think that such a result is either equitable or logical.

Every person charged with a crime has a right and concomitant need to defense representation that safeguards his or her interests and is geared toward a best-case outcome.

That need can be especially great for an adolescent offender.