The most common juvenile crimes are typically juvenile misdemeanor crimes. These may include:
- Vandalism and graffiti charges
- Shoplifting and other petty theft charges
- Simple assault (especially due to fighting incidents)
- Underage drinking violations
- Joyriding a car
Many juvenile crimes also involve first-time offenses. While most juvenile cases involve misdemeanors, there are also many juvenile felonies filed every year for more serious crimes such as homicide and grand theft.
The juvenile justice system generally aims to rehabilitate juvenile offenders rather than punish them. Thus, it is common for juvenile crimes to be remedied using alternative sentencing options rather than jail time. These may include community service work, educational and rehabilitation courses, and payment of criminal fines.
On the other hand, a juvenile offender may sometimes be tried as an adult. This is reserved for more serious crimes and offenses wherein the juvenile defendant made decisions in the same way as an adult.
As mentioned, juvenile crimes tend to be punished more leniently than adult crimes. Besides the options listed above, alternative sentencing options for juvenile crimes can also involve mandatory counseling sessions as wells as various parole and probation programs. Some juvenile offenders may be allowed an early release if they demonstrate good behavior.
For simple charges such as vandalism or trespassing, the judge may simply order the juvenile defendant to pay a small fine and write an apology letter to the property owner.
Juvenile crimes are a very specific area of criminal law. The assistance of a qualified attorney may be needed when dealing with juvenile crime issues. You may wish to hire a criminal lawyer if you or a loved one of yours needs any legal advice, guidance, and representation during a juvenile trial.