Raising a teenager comes with many challenges. While you hope you instilled proper morals, underage crimes still happen.
Theft-related offenses hold the top spot as the most frequent charge. According to the 2021 Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission’s annual report, the state logged 1,593 thefts by juveniles.
Reasons teens commit theft
While the majority of cases involve shoplifting, others involve more serious offenses, such as stealing a car or robbery. The reasons behind these actions vary greatly. In some instances, your teen may see the act as a way to fit in. In this day and age, the need to have the newest phone or name-brand clothes may supersede following the law. A teenage brain works differently than adults, making it harder to resist the desire to have what you want now. The workings of a teenage brain may also make stealing seem like a thrilling adventure. Participating in risky behaviors adds to the excitement but easily leads to additional problems. If your child commits theft, it may also indicate that they simply want attention.
In Pennsylvania, a teenager who commits a delinquent act may face an array of possible outcomes. For a first-time offense, you may not even have to go to court or your teenager may get released to you with a warning. If you have to attend court, the judge may require your child to pay restitution and attend counseling. More serious charges may result in probation or attending a diversion program. Repeat offenders risk the chance of having to serve time at a juvenile detention facility.
While a theft offense adds chaos and friction in your family, you have places to turn for help.