While we may see adults committing the bulk of the crimes in New York, it is a good idea to remember that not all children are innocent. Teens under the age of 18 have been known to commit crimes, as well. These crimes are often referred to as delinquent acts. A child who engages in these illegal acts is considered a juvenile delinquent. Children are typically tried as juveniles, but if the crime is very serious—such as murder—the child can be tried as an adult.

Juvenile delinquency falls under family law, like divorce and child custody issues. A child convicted of a crime can see their lives impacted in many ways. A criminal charge can affect the child’s future schooling and college plans. It can also affect job opportunities. Therefore, understanding these crimes and knowing how to defend against them and reduce the penalties are essential.

Types of Juvenile Delinquency

There are four main types of juvenile delinquency — individual, group-supported, organized and situational. Individual delinquency refers to one child committing an act on his or her own, with the argument that the delinquency is caused by family problems. Group-supported delinquency occurs when multiple children get together and commit delinquent acts in their neighborhood. Organized delinquency dates back to the 1950s. These are almost like gangs when members would encourage others in the group to commit crimes and reward them accordingly. Situational delinquency refers to acts that are committed with little thought. The person simply has little impulse control and committed the act on a whim.

Juvenile Delinquency Examples

There are many acts that are considered crimes in the juvenile court system. Many of the cases seen in these courts are minor, such as tobacco or alcohol use, curfew violations, and school disciplinary issues. Others are more serious in nature and can lead to injury or death to others, such as driving without a license, reckless endangerment, possession of a weapon, assault, rape, and murder.

The top crime seen in juvenile delinquency courts is theft. This may include shoplifting from a store or stealing a bike, backpack, or other possession from a classmate. Vandalism is also common among teens. This includes keying cars and using graffiti. Even writing on bathroom walls or classroom desks can be considered vandalism.

Alcohol use is also common among teens. Even though the legal age to consume alcohol is 21 years old, many teens experiment with it before they reach that age. A teen can be arrested for purchase, consumption, and possession of beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages. The same goes for marijuana and tobacco.

Disorderly conduct is another top crime among juveniles. This may include fighting, indecent exposure or cursing at a teacher or other authority figure. Many juveniles are also charged with assault, which includes pushing or shoving a person. Certain types of bullying can also be classified as assault.

Contact a Brooklyn Family Law Attorney Today

It is important to understand the various types of delinquency and the various crimes in which your child may engage. Brooklyn family law attorney Theodore Alatsas ESQ can help you and your child understand juvenile delinquency and the court system. To learn more, schedule a consultation today. Call our office at (718) 233-2903.

Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection
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