About Juvenile Crimes

A juvenile crime is an unlawful act committed by a minor (an individual under the age of 17 or 18, depending on the state). This may be a status offense, which is only unlawful because of the minor's age. Underage drinking and curfew violations are examples of status offenses. Other juvenile crimes are actions which are illegal no matter the individual's age. This would include such offenses as drug crimes, vandalism and arson.

The juvenile court system functions differently than state and federal court systems. In general, the juvenile justice system is built to give minors a chance at rehabilitation rather than punishment. However, certain crimes committed by minors above a certain age (depending upon the state) will qualify a juvenile to be tried as an adult; facing adult penalties.

Because the juvenile court system has its own rules and procedures, it is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with these particular cases. Experienced and dedicated representation is also crucial, as the outcome of these proceedings may have a serious impact on a minor's life. Even when a minor is not tried as an adult, a conviction in juvenile court may equal serious penalties, such as time in a juvenile detention facility. A juvenile record may also affect educational and employment opportunities, forever limiting a minor's future.

Some examples of common juvenile crimes include the following:

The nature of a juvenile crime, the minor's previous history of arrests, if any and a number of other factors may dictate the severity of penalties that a minor faces. Whether it is a first offense and seems relatively minor or is a case where a minor may be tried as an adult, it is important not to overlook the value of experienced legal counsel.

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