Juvenile crimes are important to understand because there is a lot on the line for young people who have been accused of committing a crime. Offenses committed by juveniles are treated somewhat differently than offenses committed by adults, so it is helpful to know the differences between the two types of crimes so that appropriate criminal defense tactics can be developed.
There are generally two different types of juvenile crimes. One type includes crimes that would still be considered a crime if committed by an adult. The other category of juvenile crimes includes what are referred to as status offenses. The acts falling into this category are considered a crime because of the age, or status, of the juvenile. Examples of status offenses include truancy, possession or consumption of alcohol, or staying out past curfew. Penalties for juvenile crimes can include incarceration, though it may differ from adult incarceration, fines, community service, drug and alcohol class requirements, and probation.
In some circumstances, and in cases of serious crimes, juveniles may be charged and tried as adults. A conviction in these circumstances can result in serious penalties and consequences for juveniles that can follow them around for the rest of their lives. As a result, it is necessary to understand criminal defense strategies that may be available. This may include seeking to suppress evidence, challenging witness credibility, or even negotiating some sort of plea deal that allows for the avoidance of the harshest penalties sought.
Juvenile crimes and how they are handled are important for young people and their parents to thoroughly understand. Equally important to understand are criminal defense options available to accused individuals, which is why it is often in these individuals’ best interests to discuss their unique set of circumstances with a criminal defense attorney of their choosing.