There are two main types of juvenile offenses:
- Acts that are crimes regardless of an individual’s age
- Drug trafficking is one example
- Status offenses - Acts that are only crimes due to the minor’s age
- For example, being out past curfew
Without knowing the data, it can be difficult to understand how minors may end up breaking the law and why.
Here are the juvenile delinquency statistics you should know:
According to youth.gov, roughly 2.1 million minors younger than age 18 are arrested in the United States annually. Generally, juvenile arrest rates have dropped over the past several years, and about 1.7 million delinquency cases are disposed in juvenile courts each year.
As you can see from the graph below, adolescents are referred to the juvenile justice system for various types of violations. Fortunately, drug law violations receive the lowest number of referrals, since there are other ways to treat offenses of this nature.
Percent of Juvenile Court Involvement Charges by Type for Youth Between the Ages of 12 and 17 in 2008:
Sometimes, when juveniles commit very serious offenses (usually violent), they can be tried in adult court. Fortunately, this occurs in less than 1% of all petitioned cases and the numbers are dropping. In 1994, there were 13,700 youth sent to adult court, compared to 8,900 in 2008.
Race and Ethnicity
A minor’s race and ethnicity make a difference in the way they will be treated in the juvenile justice system.
According to youth.gov:
- “Minority youth are overrepresented within—and treated differently by—the juvenile justice system compared to their white peers.
- Minority youth are more likely to be detained and committed than non-Hispanic whites.
- African-American youth have the highest rates of involvement compared to other racial groups. They make up 16 percent of all youth in the general population, but 30 percent of juvenile court referrals, 38 percent of youth in residential placement, and 58 percent of youth admitted to state adult prison.”
If your child has been accused of a delinquent act but has not yet been charged, you need IMMEDIATE representation for your child. Don’t hesitate to reach out—we may be able to help.