Adolescent boys and girls are in a unique position when it comes to crime because they are normally seeking acceptance from their friends. Unlike adults, young teenagers are inclined to commit crimes out of fear of rejection from their peers. Unfortunately, a large percentage of juveniles will “dabble” in some form of crime or another; however, not all of them get caught. When they do get caught, they run the risk of damaging future college scholarship opportunities as well as opportunities for employment.
Long ago, children and teens were prosecuted the same as adults. Fortunately, today, America’s courts recognize how important it is to focus on rehabilitating a juvenile, as opposed to subjecting them to severe penalties. Although most juvenile case will be tried in the juvenile courts, the more severe cases may be tried as an adult instead. When this happens, a juvenile will face the same punishments as an adult would in the adult system.
What types of cases are considered more serious? Certainly violent crimes are more serious than something such as vandalism or petty theft. If your child committed a gang related crime, or was involved in a serious felony such as manslaughter or murder, then you have a lot to be concerned about.
Common juvenile crimes include: vandalism, theft, DUI, disorderly conduct, assault and battery. However, juveniles can commit serious violent felonies, the same as an adult, especially if they are associated with a gang. These crimes may include: sex crimes, rape, molestation, arson, manslaughter, weapons offenses as well as murder.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2009 juveniles were involved in 9% of all murder arrests, 15% of all violent crime arrests, 14% of forcible rape arrests, 25% of burglary arrests, 24% of larceny-theft arrests and 44% of arson arrests. It’s obvious that juveniles claim a significant percentage of all criminal arrests in this country, and that as parents we have a lot of work to do if we want to reverse these seriously negative statistics.
Juvenile crime is a very real concern for the American society as a whole. When one looks at the statistics, they don’t lie. Juveniles are committing up to 25% or more of major crimes and in many cases, juvenile offenders are only beginning their criminal career. Anything that can be done by the parents and the system to re-direct the juvenile offender and steer them away from committing further crimes will not only provide hope for a brighter future for the young adult, but make our society safer in the future.
As a parent, it is crucial to consider your child’s best interests when it comes to sentencing. Although it may seem fair and just to let your child “learn a lesson,” you want to consider what may happen to them if they are exposed to other violent offenders. It has been proven that youth who are jailed with other adult inmates are far more likely to recommit a serious offense then those who are given rehabilitative treatment. Common penalties for a juvenile offense include:
- Fines (typically paid by the parents)
- Out-of-home placement in a detention facility;
- Cognitive behavioral training or counseling; and
- Restitution (again, usually paid by the parents).
Most parents have a deep concern for their child’s emotional and physical well-being, as well as their future. Although there is no excuse for committing crimes, the sooner you take action to limit your child’s consequences, the better off they will be. Statistics have proven time and again that youth respond far better to rehabilitation and treatment, then if they are punished as an adult.
Although America’s youth is bound to make mistakes, as a parent it’s important to realize that they need your guidance and direction now more than ever. Sometimes having a caring and compassionate parent, teamed up with a like-minded lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of the juvenile’s case. Doing whatever it takes to keep your son or daughter out of a juvenile facility and at home where they belong, along with focusing on rehabilitation and which bad choices landed them in this unfavorable situation, will help them get back on the right track.
If your son or daughter has been charged with a crime in Minnesota, it’s absolutely crucial that you hire an attorney who is experienced in both the adult and juvenile courts. Not only that, but you want to have an attorney who has intimate knowledge of the criminal justice system as well as any alternative programs that your child might be eligible for. » Read more: Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Child Suffer Severe Criminal Penalties