Remember what it was like to be a teenager?
Most adults flash back occasionally to the wonder years, of course, especially those who now have kids of their own. Some readers of this blog likely had more than their fair share of challenges and setbacks while growing up, with others perhaps remembering little but upsides and strongly positive memories.
Notwithstanding such polar opposites in experience, though, one thing seems to uniformly mark most teens and set them apart from other groups, and that is this: a sense of invincibility.
Youth can be funny that way. Teenagers often engage in behaviors that an adult would consider as nonstarters and pull back from, given potentially adverse consequences. Growing adolescents sometimes feel invulnerable and impervious from downside implications in the wake of certain conduct.
Like sexting, for example.
Posting digital images of a sexual nature online – either of oneself or another party – is reportedly something that many teens in California and nationally do, with increasing regularity. That can get offenders into legal hot water, but evidence shows that many of the minors who do it are blissfully unaware of the downsides.
They shouldn’t be. Sexting is illegal in every American state, and can be charged as a pornography offense and even a felony. It can bring jail time, inclusion on a sexual offender registry, heavy fines and additional penalties.
Seasoned criminal defense attorneys who routinely represent teen offenders are often taken by their innocence and true lack of intention to commit any illegal act. Many people who closely work within the criminal justice sphere know from close experience that a punishment-first philosophy is often a misguided and hurtful response to teen wrongdoing.
We certainly think that way at the Alameda County Law Office of John W. Noonan, where our principal attorney has been forcefully advocating for teen offenders for decades. We note on our website that “we strive to find sentencing alternatives that if found responsible are rehabilitative.”
The reason why is simple: Most teens are redeemable.