Many parents do not want to believe that their child has done something wrong, let alone committed a crime. According to crime statistics published by the FBI, there were 481,006 juvenile offenders in 2016 across the United States. Juvenile crime is at the lowest it has been in years, but it still is an area of concern. Juvenile cases can be more complicated than adult cases because of the consideration that the offenders are young and have the potential to be reformed.
Juvenile Court Vs. Adult Court
The first consideration that courts must make when juveniles are accused of committing a crime is whether or not the offender should be tried in juvenile court or adult court. Offenders who are under the age of 18 and have the potential for reform and making better decisions will likely be tried in juvenile court. Some crimes, such as murder, will automatically move to adult court if the offender is over the age of 13.
Juveniles are more likely to commit certain types of crime than others. The FBI runs the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which captures the details of certain crimes and provides crime statistics to the public. The NIBRS also breaks down the crime incidents into age categories, one of which includes juveniles. In 2016, the top juvenile crimes were:
- Assault Offenses – 133,546 Incidents – This category includes charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, and intimidation. Aggravated assault occurs when the offender uses a weapon to attack a victim, or when the victim suffers severe bodily injury. Simple assault occurs when the offender attacks a victim without a weapon, and the victim does not suffer severe injury. Offenses such as hazing, assault and battery, and minor assault are included in this category. Intimidation occurs when someone puts another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words or conduct.
- Larceny/Theft Offenses – 102,429 Incidents – Theft offenses occur when someone unlawfully takes property from the possession of another person. Offenses in this category include shoplifting, theft from a coin-operated machine, theft from a motor vehicle, and any other type of larceny/theft, except for motor vehicle theft, which is in its own category.
- Drug/Narcotic Offenses – 79,673 Incidents – These types of offenses include manufacturing, cultivating, distributing, selling, purchasing, using, possessing, or transporting any type of controlled substance or narcotic. This category can also include offenses relating to the devices or equipment used to prepare or use drugs and narcotics.
- Destruction/Damage/Vandalism – 59,032 Incidents – This category includes any type of destructive action to property that results in significant damage, except for arson, which is its own category. These crimes involve intentionally destroying, damaging, or defacing property without the permission of the owner.
- Burglary/Breaking & Entering – 24,439 Incidents – This offense occurs when someone unlawfully enters a structure with the intent to commit a felony or a theft. A structure is, by definition, a permanent fixture with four walls, a roof, and a door. This means that burglary/breaking and entering can occur in an apartment, home, church, factory, ship, office, or school.
Contact a Will County Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer
Everyone makes mistakes, but that does not mean that they should follow you for the rest of your life. If your child has been charged with any type of crime, you should immediately contact a Joliet juvenile criminal defense attorney. The goal of the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba is to avoid a conviction at all costs. Contact our office at 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation.