It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. When it comes to juvenile crimes in Connecticut, that village can also contribute to a whole set of risk factors to a child’s choices to participate in criminal behavior.
So, though writing off juvenile crime as youthful indiscretions are quite tempting, understand things are much more complicated than that.
Decades of research have identified a number of consistent risk factors contributing to some of the most common juvenile crimes in Connecticut. Let’s take a closer look…
Is Your Child Considered “At Risk” in Connecticut?
According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, there are handfuls of risk factors for committing juvenile crimes that can be identified as young as six years old. They generally fall under one of five main categories: Individual, Family, School, Peer, and Community.
Individual Risk Factors
For young children, ages six to 11, individual risk factors can be innate — as simple as being male, hyperactivity, dishonesty, and aggression. Later, between 12 and 14, they include factors such as physical violence, substance use, and antisocial behavior.
Family Risk Factors
Among young children, family risk factors can include poor parent-child relationships, neglect, abuse, and separation from parents. As children get older these risk factors can include low parental involvement, poverty, and both discipline that is too harsh or too lax.
School Risk Factors
For young children, a poor attitude about school can be a warning sign while in older kids academic failure is a factor that can influence juvenile crimes
Peer Group Risk Factors
Young children with little to no social ties tend to perpetrate juvenile crimes while older children that are members of a gang or have peers with antisocial tendencies tend to be at risk
Community Risk Factors
Children, no matter age, are at higher risk if they live in a neighborhood that is rife with drugs and crime or if their neighborhood is highly disorganized.
Common Juvenile Crimes in Connecticut
When risk factors come together and a juvenile becomes caught up in the Connecticut juvenile criminal justice system, it is most often for these three offenses:
Possession of drugs
This is one of the most common juvenile crimes because when juveniles are searched as a group and just one has drugs, often all people in the group are charged with possession. However, to be convicted of possession, the defendant has to be shown to have knowns the character of the controlled substance, knew the presence of it and had control over it.
Assault can be anything from threatening school mates to physically beating up another person. The severity of the crime has a bearing on how it is charged. The most common types of assault charged to juveniles in Connecticut include:
- Assault in the first degree – This is a Class B felony. A person is guilty of this felony when there was intent to do cause serious physical harm to another person and can involve a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon. They can also be charged with this felony if there was intent to disfigure the person or cause permanent damage.
- Assault in the second degree – To be found guilty of assault in the second degree, a Class D felony, the defendant must have intended to inflict serious damage to another, cause damage to another with the use of a deadly weapon, or recklessly cause serious physical damage to another utilizing a deadly weapon or other dangerous instruments.
- Assault in the second degree with a firearm – This is a Class D felony. A person is found guilty of this felony when they commit assault in the second degree and threaten or display a firearm during the assault.
Juveniles are also commonly charged with sex crimes such as:
- Sexual assault in the First Degree – This can be a Class A or Class B felony. If they compel another to engage in sexual intercourse with them by use of force or threat of force that causes a reasonable person to fear physical injury. It also applies if the person they engaged in intercourse with was under the age of 13 and the person being charged is more than two years older than they are.
- Sexual assault in the Second Degree – This is a Class B or Class C felony. They are guilty of this degree of sexual assault if they engage in sexual intercourse with another person and the person is 13 years of age but under 16 and the defendant is two years or more older, the victim was not able to consent due to mental defect, or the victim was physically helpless.
Juveniles facing charges need proper representation by an experienced Connecticut criminal attorney in order to have the best chance at getting their charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced.
About the Author
Douglas D. Rudolph practices criminal defense law with two guiding principles in mind: that you are someone who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and that you are innocent until proven guilty. Those are beliefs that have served him well so far in New Haven and across Connecticut, where he has built a reputation as someone who truly cares about his clients and will fight aggressively for them. His work has earned him a number of prestigious awards, including landing on The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 list two years in a row and being named to the Top 10 Under 40 by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys in 2018