Common Juvenile Crimes

May 15, 2019

West Chester criminal defense lawyers defend juveniles in criminal cases.Children test boundaries from a very young age. As they grow, they assert their independence by breaking rules. It becomes problematic when that authority-challenging behavior graduates from pushing parental limits or flouting classroom rules to disobeying the law. The teenage years are fabled for being rebellious, but when that youthful rebellion morphs into criminal actions, the ramifications can be life altering. Teenagers and younger minors should understand the seriousness of criminal actions before they make poor choices that may follow them for life.

Many common juvenile crimes stem from immaturity and impulsiveness. The impulse to impress friends has landed many teens in trouble for vandalism. Truancy and curfew violations are common for teens. Schoolyard fights have resulted in charges of simple assault. For many teens, buying cigarettes or underage drinking are a rite of passage.

Alcohol and Drug Use

Teens can also become involved with more alarming behavior as a result of following friends. Drinking and drug use are common gateways to other crimes. Drug possession, public drunkenness, and disorderly conduct are often directly connected to the use of these illicit substances. The crime reaches a new level when a teen’s poor decisions lead to driving under the influence, a criminal act that could lead to even more dire crimes and consequences.

Various Other Crimes

Teens trying to fit in may also find themselves committing larceny. Shoplifting is a crime with serious repercussions. A high schooler who gets caught up texting sexually explicit pictures of themselves or others can be charged with possession of child pornography. A teen who escalates a neighborhood brawl can stand accused of assault, or in the extreme, manslaughter or murder.

Juvenile Justice System

Rehabilitation is the main goal of the juvenile justice system. Minors that find themselves in the system are often given different treatment than an adult who committed the same crime. Incarceration, even in a juvenile detention center, is not always the ideal course to take. Other outcomes include community service, rehabilitation courses, or other education alternatives. More serious crimes are likely to result in a juvenile being charged as an adult.

Even when punishment is comparatively lenient, a teenager convicted of a crime may still face unintended consequences that can change the course of their life. Sometimes teens do not have bad influences to blame. Instead, they are looking for attention or behaving badly due to an underlying mental health issue. Regardless, juveniles commit crimes that should not haunt them forever.

West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Defend Juveniles in Criminal Cases

If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, the West Chester criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes can help. With more than 30 years of experience in criminal law, we have the skills and resources to fight for your child. For a free consultation, call us at 610-431-7900 or contact us online. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.