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As a previous post discussed, vandalism could result in serious criminal charges. While most youth view these acts as a prank or a minor offense, this criminal act could tremendously impact the life and future of a juvenile offender. Thus, it is important that a vandalism charge is not taken lightly. There are opportunities to initiate a criminal defense and strategize to reduce or dismiss the charges against an accused offender.

What is teen vandalism? According to the Uniform Crime Reporting division of the FBI, vandalism is the willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property, real or personal, without the consent of the owner or the persons currently having custody or control of the property. There are a wide variety of acts that could qualify as vandalism. With regards to juveniles committing this act, this typically includes acts such as posting graffiti, breaking windows, smashing mailboxes, stealing, trashing unguarded property, setting fires, tampering with equipment, such as vending machines or payphones, setting false fire alarms, damaging parked cars or damaging trees.

There are some reasons for these behaviors, and the UCR has highlighted some behaviors of teens and specific situations that are often linked to teen vandalism. This includes binge drinking, seeking money to buy drugs, peer pressure or hostility towards a property owner.

While some vandalism crimes are not always associated with being criminal, even those who claim themselves street artists or graffiti artists could still face serious criminal penalties.Because of that, it is important that accused offenders of any age note that they have rights to a criminal defense. This could help reduce or dismiss the charges, which could ultimately help the reputation and future of a juvenile defendant.

Source: Familyfirstaid.org, "Teen Vandalism," accessed June 24, 2017

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