In Arthur L. Pressman Law Blog, Criminal Defense, Juvenile Crimes, Youthful Offender

The 7 Most Common Youthful Offender Crimes

Young adulthood can be a difficult time because it is inherently paradoxical; teenagers are given many of the responsibilities of the average adult, but they are still viewed by society as children. This cognitive dissonance can spur high schoolers and college students alike to engage in risky activities, whether as a means or rebellion or mere experimentation. Unfortunately, some of these decisions have legal consequences, and though adolescents often receive milder repercussions than adults do, there are penalties nonetheless. If your child has been charged with any of the following youthful offender crimes, please contact our Buffalo criminal defense attorney immediately.

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1. Assault

AssaultWhether a fight started in good fun or because of a heated dispute, any altercation could leave one or more parties facing serious assault charges. There are three degrees of assault in New York State, distinguished by intent, the extent of the injuries, and whether weapons were involved. If convicted, your rights, including gun ownership, will be curtailed. You will not be able to vote while in jail or on parole. You may be barred from certain careers. Your Buffalo criminal defense attorney can challenge any of these charges by showing that the prosecution cannot prove your intent to cause injury beyond a reasonable doubt. Self-defense or defense of another, if demonstrable, will also clear your name.

2. Criminal Mischief

Criminal MischiefCriminal mischief is broad category covering any damage of another person’s property, either with intent or because of reckless or negligent behavior. Common criminal mischief charges include graffiti, vandalism, damage to cars, damage to homes, and damage to other personal items. If convicted of even the lowest level of criminal mischief (fourth degree), you would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and subject to fines and up to one year in prison.

3. Driving While Intoxicated Under 21

Driving While Intoxicated Under 21New York has a “zero tolerance” alcohol policy for drivers under 21. If you are a driver under 21 and police pull you over, and if you blow a BAC of .01-.07, you will be charged with underage DWI, resulting in fines and the suspension of your driver’s license for one year. A “driving after consuming alcohol” charge will be handled within the Department of Motor Vehicles. While a conviction will mean the loss of your license for a year, you may get a conditional license that will allow you to drive to and from work, school, and medical appointments. Even a trace of alcohol in your system will result in a charge. Blowing a BAC of .08 or above will result in typical DWI charges for adults.

4. Driving While Intoxicated—Marijuana

Driving While Intoxicated—MarijuanaIt is illegal in New York State to drive under the influence of any mind-altering substance. It is extremely dangerous to operate a vehicle after taking marijuana, and you will be charged and prosecuted exactly as if you had been driving drunk. There will not be a breathalyzer involved, but the authorities have other ways of measuring marijuana intoxication. The penalties will be the same as for a regular DWI.

5. Hazing

HazingAt large universities, hazing seems like a normal and accepted part of the college experience. In the eyes of the law, however, hazing is a serious offense. While hazing is not a crime, it is violation, and a person charged with hazing could spend 15 days in jail. Hazing might result in expulsion from a school, which in turn could threaten a person’s career goals. Furthermore, a skilled prosecutor could push to include additional charges for illegal actions associated with hazing, such as underage consumption of alcohol, criminal mischief, and assault.

6. Marijuana Possession

Marijuana PossessionPossession of up to 28 grams of marijuana in New York State is now a violation instead of a crime. There will nevertheless be a fine and a charge on your record if you are convicted. If this is a first offense, a skilled attorney might be able to secure an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, meaning that if you satisfy the conditions of the court, the case will be sealed and will not appear on your record.

7. Underage Drinking

Underage DrinkingUnderage drinking might seem like a rite of passage, but this does not change the fact that an arrest and a conviction for underage drinking can be damaging to your finances, relationship, education, and career goals. Under the New York Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, it is an offense for anyone under the age of 21 to purchase or attempt to purchase an alcoholic beverage through fraudulent means. The New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law makes it a misdemeanor to buy and use a fake license. In addition, it is an offense under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law for a person under 21 to possess alcohol “with the intent to consume.” This means that if you use a fake ID to purchase alcohol, you could face at least three separate charges.

No one should have to live with the consequences of any youthful offender crimes made during adolescence, but the law can be unyielding in its treatment of youthful offenders. Even young adults who take care to avoid unsafe behavior can find themselves facing a charge for vandalism, DWI, assault or other youthful offender crimes. In these cases, a Buffalo criminal defense attorney with experience in juvenile criminal law can advocate for your child in the courtroom against . Consult a Buffalo criminal defense attorney immediately if your child has been charged for one of the offenses above,  your lawyer can help to reduce or even eliminate the charges, allowing your daughter or son to continue leading a healthful life.

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