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There are some common violations an underage person in Virginia might commit without realizing the conduct is against the law with the potential of long-term consequences.

A teen might not realize, for example, that he or she is resisting arrest by not complying with a law enforcement officer when being arrested or detained. Under Virginia law, a person who prevents or tries to prevent a law enforcement officer from making an arrest can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Similarly, obstruction of justice might occur if a teen tries to impede or intimidate a law enforcement officer from completing their duties. This can range from being a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 5 felony, depending on the extent to which there is a threat of bodily harm or force.

Giving false information to the police is also a crime. It involves making a false statement or representation to an officer of the law who is in the process of conducting an investigation and is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Teens who are behind the wheel of a vehicle, are on foot or use some other method of transportation and try and elude a law enforcement officer who is trying to make a stop can be charged with attempt to elude. This is a Class 2 misdemeanor. If the officer or another person is put in danger by the attempt to flee by vehicle, it will be a Class 6 felony and the teen's driving privileges will be suspended if there is a conviction.

It is natural for an underage person to be frightened when confronted by law enforcement personnel. However, it is always a bad idea to commit any of the above acts when dealing with an officer of the law. When a teen is charged with a juvenile criminal offense, they can often put up a strong defense with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: Virginia Rules, "Relevant Virginia Laws," accessed on Sept. 5, 2016

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