Your child made a mistake and now you think it’s going to cost them their livelihood as they face possible fines, community service, probation, and a record that could follow them. When your child has been charged with vandalism, you as their parent may feel as if your worlds are falling apart, but there is hope. We can help you understand these charges, penalties, and how we can play a role in your case.
Vandalism by a Teen
When a teenager commits an act of vandalism, there are no separate laws that dictate whether they should be charged the same way an adult would be. Vandalism laws, therefore, apply to you regardless of your age. No matter what, if your child is under 18 years old, they will be dealt with under the juvenile justice system where the prosecutor shows how vandalism occurred and how the crime should be dealt with. There are many types of vandalism that a teen could be charged with, from breaking somebody’s windows in their car, to graffiti on the side of a building.
Vandalism is a growing issue in many states. In 2003 alone, 107,000 juveniles across the states were arrested for vandalism crimes. When you or your loved one have been charged, you may have questions about how the process works and what you should expect.
The state acknowledges the fact that somebody cannot intentionally commit vandalism, which is why using a defense may seem like an impossible defense. As long as a teen acts in some way and it leads to damage, vandalism will result.
There are a variety of penalties in these cases. For instance, in many cases, your teenager will have to pay fines and restitution. Fines can be as much as $500 or more for even minor acts of vandalism, and thousands of dollars for significant damage. Restitution works a bit differently than fines, however. The teen will have to pay restitution to the property owner where the damage occurred. This will allow the owner to repair or replace whatever was left broken.
In cases that are not severe enough for juvenile detention, probation and diversion tactics could also be used. The teen may be told that they need to meet various aspects of probation, from maintaining employment and staying in school. Juvenile diversion programs are created for juveniles to make a difference and comply with terms so that the prosecutor will drop the charges.
If you or a loved one has been charged with vandalism as a juvenile offender, you should speak to us about your case immediately. Your teen has a right to legal counsel just as adults do. Find out how we can help your case today.