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Risk Factors Associated with Juvenile Crime

San Jose juvenile defense attorney

Any good parent is interested in knowing where their child is and what they might be up to at any given time. As a child grows up, it becomes impossible—and arguably unhealthy—to keep a constant eye on him or her. Parents must do what they can to raise their children the right way and hope that the children are equipped to make good decisions. Unfortunately, some children do not always make the right choices, and juvenile crime is a real problem.

While most juvenile offenders commit two offenses or less during their youth, a small percentage of repeat offenders tend to be responsible for a large percentage of all juvenile crime. For most kids, the consequences of being caught the first time are enough to make them shy away from committing crimes in the future. Repeat offenders, however, often share similar characteristics and may begin breaking the law as early as 10 years old.

According to recent studies, there are a few warning signs that parents should take note of that could be indicators that their child is likely to become a juvenile offender. If you are a parent, you should know that these include:

  • Persistent Issues in School: Trouble in the classroom can be an early indication of legal trouble ahead. If your child gets poor grades or is skipping school regularly, he or she could be headed for suspensions or dropping out voluntarily. Dropouts tend to have underdeveloped life skills in key areas and are more likely to engage in criminal behavior.
  • Alcohol or Drug Use: In addition to the fact that possession of alcohol or drugs by a minor child is already illegal, substance abuse is another common warning sign of future trouble. Some young people end up selling drugs, while others make poor choices while using alcohol or drugs. Those who become addicted are even more at risk for patterns of criminality.
  • Problems at Home: Children who have been neglected, abandoned, or abused have been shown to be more likely to commit criminal offenses. The same is true for children who have been raised in a home that is tolerant of criminal activity. This is not to suggest that a child from a healthy, intact family situation cannot commit crimes, but issues at home are known to be a factor in future decision-making.

Of course, there is no guarantee that a child who exhibits any or all of these warning signs is destined to become a career criminal. Even a juvenile who has already committed a crime can turn his or her life around. It is, however, important to act quickly in giving the child an alternative direction for his or her future.

If your child is facing juvenile charges, contact an experienced San Jose juvenile defense lawyer. We will help ensure that your child’s rights are fully protected. Call 408-277-0377 to schedule a free consultation with Wesley J. Schroeder, Attorney at Law, today.