Five of the Most Common Juvenile Offenses

Just like adults, young people can and do commit criminal offenses. Some of the offenses minors commit are the same as the crimes adults commit. Other offenses are associated with the offender's age or additional factors.

If your child is facing a juvenile crime conviction, they will benefit from contacting an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you understand more about your child's rights and determine the next steps necessary to navigate the juvenile justice system successfully.

Theft, Including Shoplifting, Charges

Theft offenses, including shoplifting, are widespread juvenile crimes. Depending on the circumstances, most minor theft-related charges are considered petty theft and charged as misdemeanors. However, if the property the minor allegedly stole was worth $1,000 or more, the minor could be charged with a felony.

Depending on the charges, a minor who is found guilty of committing theft could face court-ordered counseling and probation and be required to pay the victim restitution. When juveniles are required to pay restitution, they must pay the value price for the stolen property to the victim.

Drug Possession Charges

In a culture full of negative peer pressure, it can be easy for minors to make the mistake of experimenting with and being caught in possession of controlled substances. Drug possession is one of the most common crimes minors are charged within North Carolina. When it comes to drug possession, there are a few things that need to be taken into account.

Possession can mean either actual possession or constructive possession. Actual possession happens when the defendant has the drug on their person. Constructive possession occurs when the defendant had control over the drug, even if it was not on their person but was in their backpack, car, or locker.


Unfortunately, vandalism is a common crime among juveniles. Many young people think of vandalism as nothing more than a prank, but the consequences of vandalism can be serious. Vandalism is defined as the act of willfully destroying or defacing someone else's property. Vandalism can include anything from spray painting graffiti on a wall to breaking a store window. The penalty for vandalizing someone else's property can include jail time, probation, and steep fines.

Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is another common crime among minors. When a minor is charged and found guilty of underage drinking, they can face penalties, including counseling, rehabilitation, fines, and other punishments.

If a car accident results from underage drinking, the minor could be charged with more serious crimes, including vehicular manslaughter. Underage drinking charges can also come with public intoxication charges. If your child is facing charges related to consuming alcohol, it is essential that you reach out to an attorney.

Simple Assault

Young people can get into disagreements at school or outside of school. Sometimes, they fight with their fists. When this occurs, minors can be charged with simple assault. Simply refers to any action meant to threaten or cause harm to another person. More serious assaults may be charged as aggravated assault and tried in adult court.

Sexual Offenses

Sexual offenses are less common among juveniles, but teenagers may still commit sexual crimes. Aside from sexual abuse and assault, other child sex crimes are often associated with minor offenders since they lack the more advanced judgment of adults.

Students might receive or distribute photographs of a sexual nature or exchange them with other minors. Even if the other minors consent, when a minor distributes a picture of the sexual nature of another minor, they have distributed unlawful material. Youth relationships can also toe the line regarding the age of consent laws.

Schedule a Complimentary Consultation With a Charlotte Juvenile Offense Attorney

Being charged with a juvenile crime can be a frightening experience for the young person and their entire family. When it comes to juvenile criminal cases, it is important to remember that not all defendants walk away with just a slap on the wrist. Depending on the circumstances in your child's case, they could be facing severe penalties.

While most juvenile records become sealed or expunged when a minor turns 18, it is still important for parents to make sure their children receive the best representation possible by hiring an experienced attorney. If your child's been charged with a crime in Charlotte or another area of North Carolina, do not hesitate to contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to schedule a free case evaluation with a skilled attorney.