The Line Between Teen Mischief and Criminal Behavior

Lerner & Rowe Law Group
Phoenix juvenile crimes lawyer
Contact us today with any questions regarding teen crimes in Arizona.

You’ve heard the phrase, “kids will be kids.” And certainly, that can be true – a teen “slip” in judgment may be just that. Indeed, it’s been shown that the teen brain isn’t fully mature; it won’t be completely developed until about the age of 25. So, it stands to reason that teens can be irresponsible. But what happens when that mere “mischief” goes too far and becomes an actual crime?

The law still holds teens responsible to varying degrees for their behavior even as it recognizes that young people may in fact not be as able to control their impulses. In the event that your teen may be charged with a crime, you’ll need the services of a Phoenix juvenile crimes lawyer familiar with the process to represent him or her in court.

4 of the Most Common Teen Crimes in Arizona


Vandalism or “criminal damage”- defined as the defacement or destruction of someone else’s property without their permission. Breaking windows, egging or deliberately scratching cars, or defacing street signs, buildings, or other property with graffiti are just some examples. Although most vandalism crimes are considered misdemeanors, they can become felonies if property damage is severe or extensive enough.


For most teen offenders, the law considers shoplifting petty theft, usually charged as a misdemeanor. However, if accused of stealing property that meets or exceeds $2000 in value, that misdemeanor charge can become a felony charge.

Underage drinking and other alcohol-related crimes

As in other states, the drinking age is 21 in Arizona. Thus, as you might expect, underage drinking is a crime. However, two other alcohol-related crimes specific to teens that adults can’t actually commit include:

  • Soliciting alcohol (asking an adult to give them or buy them alcohol, etc.)
  • Possessing alcohol (even if not drinking it)

Of course, driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol is also a crime for teens, just as it is with adults. You can expect a hefty fine and license suspension of up to two years for a first offense, assuming there have been no injuries or property damage. A Phoenix juvenile crimes lawyer will guide your child through the process, for the best outcome possible.

Drug possession

Both “street” drugs like marijuana and prescription drugs like opioid painkillers are readily available and easy to get. However, both possession and use of these drugs is illegal (unless your teen has a legitimate prescription for the opiods). In most cases, possession and use of these drugs is a felony. Your child will need to representation from a Phoenix juvenile crimes lawyer to ensure a fair outcome.

Why You Should Hire an Experienced Phoenix Juvenile Crimes Lawyer

Don’t make light of your child’s charges, whatever the crime. If convicted of a juvenile crime, there may actually be lasting repercussions, often unnecessarily. A Phoenix juvenile crimes lawyer at Lerner and Rowe Law Group will work to get you and your child the best outcome possible. We offer free consultations and affordable payment plans.

Just call 602-667-7777 or contact us via LiveChat to set up an appointment today. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., but we are available 24/7 to take your call.