In today's difficult, polarized social climate, people throughout the nation are becoming more aware of the concept and prevalence of hate crimes, as well as how they can lead to various punishments. Even teens can find themselves dealing with allegations related to hate crimes. Even though people under 18 are frequently shielded from the harshest penalties, long-term consequences are a potentiality reality for those who are convicted of hate crimes.
In Virginia, there is a difference between crimes that are charged to adults and those that are classified as juvenile crimes. If a person is under the age of 18 and gets caught up in or accused of criminal activity, it is important to know the difference. This is true regardless of the criminal activities that are alleged. For those who are under the age of being considered an adult and are charged with a juvenile crime or a crime that reaches the seriousness in which he or she might be charged as an adult, it is essential to have a legal defense that is experienced and qualified to help, as may be the situation in one case.
As a new school year begins in Virginia, teens will be reunited with friends and perhaps be together at social events or other locations where alcohol might be available. This might lead to the temptation to drink while under the legal age to do so. In some instances, an accident or a traffic stop may occur leading to allegations of underage drinking and driving. Those who find themselves in position need to understand the law so that they can craft a criminal defense that best protects them.
Virginia teens who are accused of shoplifting need to be aware that it is taken seriously and there can be significant long-term consequences if there is a conviction. Understanding the law and formulating a defense is therefore essential to stand a chance at avoiding the harshest punishments in the juvenile law system.
As another school year is set to begin, it is important for people under the age of 18 to have a grasp of the juvenile law system and how certain allegations can impact their lives. For example, a juvenile might not be aware that making a verbal or physical threat can result in criminal charges. Even if such a threat is made in jest or is done without the person really meaning it, there can be charges and, if convicted, harsh penalties that accompany it. This is true for physical and verbal threats.
Virginia teens are constantly using their smartphones and other devices to communicate. While this can be used for positive means, there are also dangers. Some of these activities can result in being arrested and facing charges related to sexting. Sexting is when explicit images are taken and sent to another person. If juveniles take part in this, it can lead to child pornography charges. The number of teens who are taking part in this activity is rising, and it can have hefty consequences if there are criminal allegations.
During the summer in Virginia and throughout the year, it is not unusual for juveniles to get into various forms of mischief. In some instances, that can rise to the level of accusations of having committed criminal acts for which there are a variety of penalties. Allegations of destroying property can be lodged against juveniles. Understanding these crimes and what they entail is vital to formulating a strong defense.
While we all want the best for our children, the fact is that sometimes our children find themselves in less than ideal situations, and on occasion that can lead to a violent crime. At times, they may just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They may be hanging out with friends who are likely to commit crimes. Or they may not have had the proper upbringing to understand the difference between right and wrong. Whatever the case may be, it still happens. Although violent crimes among juveniles is far less than adults, it is still prevalent.
Portsmouth residents may be interested to hear that prior to the age of six or seven, the courts believe that children are not mature enough to understand the difference between right and wrong; they call this "dolci incapax." They also believe that when they do things, even something illegal, it is not done with criminal intent, or "mens rea." As such, in a majority of cases children at that age or younger are protected against criminal charges or prosecution.
When a Virginia Beach youth is accused of committing a crime they may find themselves in the juvenile justice system. While this post will generally discuss some of the characteristics of the juvenile justice system, readers with particular questions about this broad topic are asked to consult with criminal defense attorneys. This post does not provide legal advice and is offered as information only.