You're young, you do stupid things. That's pretty much a given.
If you're a girl, the classic thing is shoplifting. If you're a boy, I don't know, criminal mischief, graffitti, something like that.
The problem is if you're caught, there's a chance it stays on your record forever. And these days, when any swinging dick with a computer can look up criminal histories, you can find yourself at middle age trying to deal with the consequences of a decades-old momentary lapse of reason.
In Harris County, there was always a chance you could get deferred adjudication -- report to a probation officer every so often, keep up attendance at school, maybe do some community service for six months or a year, and the charges would be dropped and not show up on any permanent record.
But getting that could depend on the judge's mood, or who your lawyer was, or whether the six kids in front of you had gotten the deal.
DA Pat Lykos announced today that he office will be offering the deferred-adjudication deal to all juveniles who commit Class A or B misdemeanors, as long as the crimes don't involve weapons, violence, intoxication or breaking into a car.
"Implementation of this new diversion plan gives at-risk youngsters the opportunity to develop wise decision-making, to control their impulses and channel their energy into constructive pursuits," Lykos said. "This is a rehabilitative program that will transform many young lives."
Not a bad decision.
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