Juvenile misdemeanors are crimes that are committed by minors (usually, under 18 years of age in most states).  Misdemeanors are generally categorized as less serious than felonies, but more serious in nature than infractions. Some common examples of misdemeanors include assault, shoplifting and other theft crimes, and “minor in possession of alcohol”. Juvenile crime laws can be very different from region to region. 

What Are the Legal Consequences for Juvenile Misdemeanors?

While misdemeanors are not always as serious as felonies, misdemeanors committed by young minors are of much concern. This is because serious legal consequences can still result for juvenile offenders. These can include monetary fines and/or time in a juvenile jail facility.

On the other hand, alternative consequences are often available for juvenile offenders, especially first-time offenders.  For instance, the judge may require that the defendant perform community service or undergo house arrest rather than having to serve a jail sentence. This is because most communities would prefer that younger offenders be given a chance to remain active in society due to their age.

What Is a Diversionary Program?

Some states have specific diversionary programs aimed at rehabilitating juvenile offenders. As mentioned, alternative measures such as community service may form the central aspect of a diversionary program. Diversionary programs seek to “divert” the youth away from the traditional jail system through options such as counseling, rehabilitation programs, apology letters, and summer camps.

Diversionary program options are usually available for: first-time juvenile offenders; defendants involved with juvenile misdemeanors or non-violent felonies; youth DUI offenders, and other non-violent charges.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Juvenile Misdemeanor Charges?

Juvenile misdemeanor charges may result in different consequences depending on state laws and the nature of the offense. You may wish to hire a qualified criminal lawyer for assistance if one of your loved ones needs assistance with juvenile misdemeanor charges. An attorney can provide valuable legal advice, and can research the laws in your area to determine what options are available. Also, a lawyer can help provide representation during juvenile court proceedings.