What to Tell Your Kids About Vandalism

One way that people express their feelings and their thoughts is through art. So, we encourage our kids to draw what they feel or convey their views through writings or maybe drawings. But sometimes, children take it a bit too far. Instead of creating art on paper or other suitable media, some kids take to the street and deface public property, all the while believing that what they are doing is simply expressing their feelings. When an adult, even a child or a teen, willingly spoils public or private property, he can be charged with vandalism.

Vandalism – Is It a Serious Crime?

There are so many reasons why people vandalize properties. For instance, they may want to put across a certain message or express disappointment regarding a specific issue. For younger individuals, they may vandalize homes or even commercial establishments to win a bet or to join a group. So, it becomes a part of a game or maybe a vengeful act.

Those who vandalize are aware of what they are doing, and vandals may be charged with malicious destruction of property. It is a pretty serious crime because laws, including punishments, governing vandalism apply to all. There are no regulations covering only juvenile vandalism. However, an act that was committed by one who is under 18 years of age will be dealt with by the juvenile court. Those who are older or individuals considered as adults (those over 18 years old) will be dealt with by the adult or regular court. It will be lucky for one to be tried in a juvenile court because, here, the focus is on rehabilitation. In other words, the juvenile system will likely be more lenient as their goal is to change wayward behavior instead of punish the misdeed, which is often how the regular court addresses violations.

Punishments for Juvenile Vandalism

Even though the aim of the juvenile court is to encourage youngsters to change for the better, this doesn’t mean that teenagers will just get a warning or maybe a stern verbal advice. Teens will need to take responsibility for their actions, which is why the juvenile court could impose different forms of punishment to the juvenile vandal, such as the following:

  • Restitution – This refers to money that the violator must pay a victim. This is different from a fine since payment for restitution will often be used by a victim for repairs or for buying replacements for damaged items or possessions.
  • Fines – Apart from restitution, which is payment to a victim, a juvenile may also be required to settle a fine, which is paid to the court. The amount varies according to a number of factors, such as severity of the crime or whether or not the vandal is a repeat offender.
  • Detention – A juvenile may be detained, depending on court ruling. In general, those who have done more serious acts of vandalism are detained in a juvenile facility or detention center. How long an individual is detained will depend on several factors as well, such as how severe the act of vandalism was or if victims were also harmed.

Claire Brown is a freelance blogger. She writes about criminal and personal injury cases. She blogs for a number of renowned attorneys, legal sites, as well as Bail Bonds Direct.

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