Our Austin criminal defense attorneys explain some of the facts surrounding juvenile crimes and common causes that can put young people at risk.
Young people can find themselves facing potentially serious criminal charges for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they made a momentary error in judgment, got caught up in the wrong crowd, or were in the wrong place at the wrong time. In any of these cases, they could still end up being convicted and facing penalties that include heavy fines, mandatory community service, and removal from the home and placement in a juvenile detention facility. At Granger and Mueller, P.C., we have over 25 years experience handling these cases. Our Austin criminal defense attorneys explain some of the facts about juvenile offenders and common causes that put young people at risk.
Facts About Juvenile Crime
According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), more than two million young people are charged with criminal offenses each year. Among the most common types of crimes they commit include:
- Drug offenses, which includes selling or being in possession of illegal drugs or prescription medications.
- Alcohol-related offenses, such as underage drinking, public intoxication, and drinking and driving.
- Property crimes, such as petty theft and vandalism.
- Crimes against public order, such as loitering and disturbing the peace.
In cases of first time offenders and non-violent crimes, juveniles may be offered pretrial intervention. This requires them to make financial restitution, perform community services, and attend drug and alcohol or other classes. It gives them a second chance and helps to avoid more serious criminal penalties, such as incarceration in a juvenile detention facility.
What Causes Juvenile Delinquency?
Young people offer all types of excuses for committing crimes, but there are often other factors involved that they are reluctant to admit. Youth.gov guides individuals, groups, and communities in creating youth programs. They explain that problems at home, in the community, or with the young person’s physical or mental health are all common causes of juvenile delinquency. This includes:
- Issues such as Attention Deficit Disorder, mild autism, and prior head injuries, which can impact judgment and critical thinking skills;
- A history of depression and low self-esteem;
- Being from a large family, where they may not get the attention they need;
- Problems between parents, such as constant fighting and a contentious divorce;
- Domestic violence, impacting them or other family members;
- Neglect, in which they lack supervision or appropriate care;
- Dealing with a major loss, such as the death of a parent, grandparent, sibling, or close friend;
- Living in an impoverished area, impacting access to education and recreational activities;
- Hanging out with the wrong crowd, which may include gang involvement.
Juvenile Offenders Need a Strong Criminal Defense
Juvenile offenses are a serious matter and require a strong legal defense. To find out how to help a young person who has been charged with a crime or what to expect from the juvenile justice system, contact our Austin criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller, P.C.