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There is no shortage of material -- both serious and comedic -- regarding that strange species known as "the teenager." Even though we all spent time on that rollercoaster of emotions, most of us are regularly baffled by the ups, downs, and insanity of teenage behavior once we're adults. It's no secret that the juvenile brain is still developing some key functions, and that becomes abundantly clear for those who are regularly exposed to teenage crime. As summer approaches and temperatures rise, many localities ramp up their efforts to deal with an uptick in crime, including these common juvenile offenses.
Known as status offenses, certain actions are considered illegal only if perpetrated by a minor. Truancy and alcohol consumption are a couple examples. Violating a city curfew is another such offense, and is one way localities attempt to curb juvenile crime, especially during the summer.
However, some argue that curfew laws are ineffective at dealing with juvenile crime, and disproportionately target low income and minority children. They also say that free or low-cost community options would be a more effective deterrent as many children "are in need of social services, not a record."
Two other common juvenile crimes during the summer are theft and property crimes. Whether due to the increased number of unsuspecting tourists, or the greater number of people leaving their homes conspicuously unoccupied, theft and property crimes see an uptick during the summer months in some cities.
There's no denying that today's youth (not too different from yesterday's youth) have an issue with drugs and alcohol. Whether it's Xanax, vodka, or weed, a fair number of teens get arrested during the summer months for drug possession and driving while impaired.
Sadly, sexual assault is another area of concern in terms of teen crime. States prosecute these offenses in a variety of ways, but prosecutors are increasingly pushing for juveniles to be tried as adults in for more serious crimes.
When a minor is facing criminal juvenile charges, it's important to speak to an attorney as early on in the process as possible. An experienced attorney can help get charges lowered or even dismissed, and can often negotiate to have the juvenile's record expunged when he or she turns 18.