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It's natural that juveniles in Virginia, across the United States and throughout the world are going to get into mischief. Some of these acts are relatively innocent and don't cause overt harm to anyone or anything. Others, however, lead to allegations of causing substantial damage and the underage person being charged with juvenile crimes. Understanding the juvenile law system and the crimes that lead to charges of destroying property and the penalties that can be meted out is important if a juvenile is charged.

It is illegal to cause intentional damage to public structures and materials that are located in schools and libraries. If this happens and causes damage such as a broken window to the Capitol, a college, a school, the town hall or other public buildings, and the damage costs $1,000 or more, it will be a Class 6 felony. If, on the other hand, the amount is less than $1,000, it will be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Parents might not be aware that they too can face penalties for the actions of their underage child. If there is damage or destruction to public property, as much as $2,500 can be recovered from the parents based on the acts of the minor. The same is true if there is damage done to school property or any property that is under control or is owned by the school board. It is possible that the cost of the damage will be sought from the youth or the parent for whatever was broken or destroyed.

Another, more serious act of destruction is arson. Setting fire to a piece of property can be a Class 2 or Class 3 felony. If there is a conviction for a Class 2 felony, there can be a jail sentence of as much as 20 years. A Class 3 felony can lead to at least five years and up to 20 years.

Considering the long-term problems that a juvenile and the parents can face for the above charges must do whatever they can to avoid conviction. For assistance, it's a key to discuss the matter with an experienced legal professional.

Source:, "What types of property crimes involve destroying property?" accessed on Mar. 30, 2015

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