No parent wants to experience that moment where a police officer brings their child home or, worse, get the call that their son or daughter is in jail.
Unfortunately, there are many ways for teens to get into trouble these days. Drugs. Sex. Gangs. Stealing. You want to do whatever you can to steer them right. Keep them from making a mistake that could forever change their lives. But where should you put your focus?
Obviously, every teen is different. The first thing you need to do is know your kid and understand their personal proclivities. That being said, there are a number of criminal acts that teens in general are more likely to commit.
Watch Out for These Common Juvenile Offenses
Theft. You had to know this one, right? If there is one illegal act that tends to be associated with teens, it’s stealing. Specifically, shoplifting.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, teens often simply don’t have a lot of money. If they see something and want it, stealing may be the only way to get it. Second, shoplifting is something that can involve a surprising amount of peer pressure as many teens take items from stores in groups.
Finally, the actual act of shoplifting can be incredibly thrilling, and this pleasurable sensation can override their still-not-completely-developed sense of right and wrong.
They can also engage in shoplifting and other types of theft to support the next type of crime.
Drinking and doing drugs. Just like everyone else, teens are not allowed to possess controlled substances. However, the rules are even stricter for them – alcohol and cigarettes are also prohibited. If they are caught with them or attempt to buy any of these items illegally, they can get into big trouble. Of the three (drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes), alcohol makes up the most violations by far.
If you suspect that your teen is drinking, smoking, or doing other kinds of drugs, talk to them about what can happen if they are caught as well as what the substances are doing to their body and mind.
Vandalism. Tagging. Destroying property. Writing on bathroom walls. Keying cars. These are things that a lot of teens do without even realizing that they are actual crimes. Again, peer pressure and the thrill they get from engaging in the acts come into play.
One potential solution is to focus that energy in a positive direction. Encourage them to create art within the confines of the law. Participate in sports where they can be physical in an acceptable way.
Disorderly conduct, assault, and battery. While these are three different crimes, with varying levels of consequences attached, they are similar in many ways. Bullying can be classified as any of them depending on the severity. Flashing, mooning, and cursing at a teacher can potentially be disorderly conduct.
Those things are just the beginning, too. Learn what constitutes disorderly conduct and assault in Minnesota and talk to your teen about it, because these crimes cast a wide net.
Joyriding and other traffic violations. Most traffic violations are not criminal acts, but they can become criminal in certain situations. For example, if your teen is driving recklessly and injures someone, that could be defined as a criminal act.
Joyriding is another act that could potentially fall under Minnesota’s theft statute – even if your teen’s intention was not to steal the vehicle.
Of course, there is only so much that you can do as a parent. If your teen does find themselves facing a juvenile charge, the best thing that you can do to protect their rights and future is to get in touch with an experienced Minnesota criminal attorney with a track record of success handling these types of cases.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).