Youth crime is a serious concern for society. With very few exceptions, any activity or choice that is illegal for an adult is also illegal for a juvenile. However, because many youths committing crime do so with less awareness and understanding than an adult there are different court and sentencing procedures for juvenile crimes as opposed to adult crimes. This is the case with theft, among other criminal acts.
Most Common Underage Crimes in Canada
· Youth taken into the legal system are most often charged with misdemeanor theft.
· Similarly, for all the juveniles that were brought in on felony charges a majority were accused of a burglary felony.
· Out of drug offenses, misdemeanor marijuana referrals are the most common reasons for youth being brought to court.
In delinquency prevention programs targeted at the youth appear to be making a difference. Although the overall population of underage Floridians has increased, the juvenile crime rate has decreased across the board.
Youth Crimes That Have Decreased
· Felony and misdemeanor narcotic offenses.
· Sexual assault
· Aggravated assault and battery
· Auto theft
· Armed robbery
The Canadian public is less likely to be affected by a juvenile crime today than it ever has been in the past ten years. This positive trend leaves hope for the future.
The Aftermath of Juvenile Theft
A criminal accusation of theft can be associated with a number of actions, from shoplifting to more serious acts, such as breaking and entering. If a youth is accused of theft, he or she could face serious repercussions, including the following:
- Probationary terms, such as limitations on where they can travel or warnings that any further criminal activity will result in a more serious sentencing.
- Fines which can possibly reach up to thousands of dollars that must be paid to the court. Also, if any property damage occurred as a result of the theft, the juvenile can be asked to reimburse the property’s owner for the wrongdoing.
- Requirements concerning community service. This is a common sentence for juveniles found guilty of committing a crime. The number of hours that must be completed is related to the extent and severity of the crime committed.
- Time in jail. If this is a subsequent criminal offense or if the youth committed a particularly grievous theft, he or she can face serious time in jail which can affect school and work abilities as well as future prospects.