Trick or Treating has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean teens in Illinois are going to give up the mischief. Kids are going to make mistakes, and the criminal justice system generally takes it easier on first time juvenile offenders. That said, they still might get more than a slap on the wrist. Today, we take a closer look at five crimes that are more commonly committed by juveniles, and how the state of Illinois handles these crimes.
Common Juvenile Crimes
1. Underage Drinking – Whether it’s on a college campus or after a high school football game, underage drinking is a problem throughout the U.S. Under Illinois law, it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to possess, transport or consume alcoholic beverages. Doing so is a Class A misdemeanor, and the person is subject to fines up to $500. Jail time is rare, but misdemeanor charges do carry the possibility of jail time.
2. Vandalism – Vandalism is another crime that is often committed by young people. Oftentimes this takes the form of graffiti or toilet papering a house. The penalties for Vandalism depend on how much damage you cause, and if you damage an institution, like a church or a school. If it’s your first offense, and the value of the damage is less than $300, you’ll likely be charged with Criminal Defacement of Property, which is a Class B misdemeanor. This carries a potential penalties of 6 months in jail and fines up to $1,500.
3. Shoplifting – Similar to vandalism, the penalties imposed for shoplifting increase with the value of the shoplifted item. Illinois always tends to see an increase in shoplifters in the final two months of the year as Black Friday and Christmas shopping take center stage. Also, shoplifting is an impulse crime that often occurs without much planning, so it’s no surprise that teens and young adults commit a lot of retail theft. Assuming the value of the goods was less than $300, you can face fines up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail for your first offense.
4. Disorderly Conduct – Disorderly conduct is a blanket term to describe a variety of actions that interrupts normal life for law abiding citizens. This includes actions like blaring your car stereo late at night, causing a scene in a restaurant or movie theater or pulling the fire alarm at school. In Illinois, a person charged with disorderly conduct may face fines up to $1,500, up to 30 days in jail and up to 12 years of probation, unless the charge is upgraded.
5. Marijuana Possession – Getting caught with even a tiny amount of marijuana is punishable under Illinois law. Even if you are caught with less than 2.5 grams of marijuana, you’ll still be hit with a misdemeanor charge. Similar to a disorderly conduct charge, a person can face a fine up to $1,500 and up to 30 days in jail.