What Are the Penalties for Juvenile Vandalism?
May 15, 2023
Juvenile vandalism is a common offense committed by minors, and it can negatively impact the child’s chances of getting into college or finding a good job. Sometimes, reputation can be damaged beyond repair without the right legal guidance.
Also known as malicious mischief, the crime of vandalism is when someone purposely damages someone else’s property. Examples include graffiti, breaking windows, and keying cars. No one accidentally commits an act of vandalism because there is intent.
Judges have the authority to handle these cases and have more leeway than ones working in adult justice systems. When a person under 18 faces a vandalism charge, a judge will hear the evidence, make a judgment, and decide on penalties when applicable.
Since courts have more flexibility with juvenile cases, they often order a range of penalties for the offenders. They will want to know if it was a first offense and if the juvenile shows remorse for their actions. There might be fines, an order to pay restitution to the property owner, probation, or an order to attend a diversion program. A more serious penalty would be getting sent to a juvenile detention center. That could be for weekends only, part-time, or full-time.
The amount of the fine will vary, reflecting the nature of the case. If the juvenile has a job, their wages would go toward it. Otherwise, Pennsylvania caps parental responsibility at $2,500.
What Should I Do if My Child Is Charged With Vandalism?
Being charged with juvenile vandalism can be a frightening experience for a minor and their parents. It is best to remain calm. Most of the time, the juvenile will be released to the parent’s care until the hearing. It is best to cooperate and consider contacting a criminal defense lawyer.
In most juvenile cases, courts seek to rehabilitate the defendants instead of punishing them. A defense for a juvenile vandalism case will generally focus on proving that the defendant was innocent or that they are remorseful for their actions. A plea bargain or settlement often ends these kinds of cases.
West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Are Experienced in Juvenile Vandalism Cases
If your minor child is facing juvenile vandalism charges, you will want to do everything you can to protect their rights. For a free consultation, contact our West Chester criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes. Complete our online form today or call us at 610-431-7900. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.