Young people charged with crimes may face consequences that could have a serious effect on their futures. Three Virginia youths are facing charges after multiple incidents of weapon possession in area schools.
One of the youths was charged with possession of a weapon on school property after another student told the principal that a student had a gun in his pocket. Officers found the 13-year-old student with a BB gun and two knives. An 18-year-old is facing a misdemeanor charge of possession of a weapon on his high school’s property. Authorities allegedly found a knife in his backpack when they were investigating reports of smoking in the boys’ bathroom. Lastly, a 9-year-old student may be facing a weapon possession charge after another student told authorities that another student had a knife and was showing it to others at the elementary school. The knife was confiscated from the student and they were sent home from school.
The unlawful possession of a weapon can be a serious charge to face, especially for children and teenagers. Young people under the age of majority, which is 18 in most states, go through the juvenile justice system when they are charged with a crime. Minors accused of a juvenile crime should do whatever they can to avoid formal charges being filed against them.
In order to determine whether to file formal charges, prosecutors and juvenile court officers will consider the severity of the crime, the minor’s age, past criminal record and whether the minor can be controlled by his parents. If formal charges are filed, there will likely be an arraignment and a trial where the judge will determine whether the child is guilty as well as their actual sentence, if found guilty.
Source: WAVY, “Nine-year-old faces pending weapons charge,” Catherine Rogers, Jan. 3, 2013