Juvenile violent crime, also known as teen violence, refers to intentional injuries caused by a minor to another person. This can range from simple fighting altercations to crimes involving serious bodily harm. In most states, a "juvenile" is any person under the age of 18.
Common examples of juvenile violent crimes can include:
- Fighting with peers
- Violence associated with "bullying"
- Gang violence
- Basic assault and battery
- Aggravated assault and battery (weapons)
- More serious homicide crimes
Generally speaking, juvenile crimes are adjudicated through the juvenile court system, which is a separate channel from the normal criminal system for adults. The laws and procedural rules governing juvenile criminal courts can often involve a somewhat more lenient approach that is aimed more at rehabilitation than punishment.
Are There Any Defenses to Juvenile Violent Crime?
Juvenile violent crimes frequently arise from conflicts between minors. Thus, a common defense in a juvenile violent crime case is that of self-defense. However, when proving self-defense, the defendant needs to show that the other party acted first, and that they used a proportionate amount of force in defense.
Other defenses may include involuntary intoxication, mental illness or psychological conditions, and consent. Consent is often raised when the other party agrees to the physical contact or the risk of physical injury.
Are There Any Alternative Sentencing Options for Juvenile Violent Crime charges?
As mentioned, one of the hallmarks of the juvenile system is its alternative approach to sentencing and rehabilitation. Oftentimes, the minor may be allowed alternative sentencing options for less serious first-time offenses. For instance, they may be allowed to participate in a divisionary program that keeps them out of a juvenile hall institution and allows them to perform community service instead.
On the other hand, more serious crimes, repeat offenses, or multiple charges may lead to the minor being tried as an adult. Each state has different laws concerning the sentencing of juvenile violent crimes.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Juvenile Violent Crimes?
Juvenile violent crimes can range from very minor offenses to serious felony charges. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, your best interest will be served by hiring an experienced criminal attorney. A qualified attorney can help you with the case, and can inform you if there are any defenses or alternative sentencing options available.