Reeder & Brown, P.C.


When Your Teen is Charged With Vandalism

 Posted on June 14, 2024 in Criminal Law

IL defense lawyerIn Illinois, vandalism is characterized as the intentional damage, defacement, or destruction of someone else’s property without permission. Acts of vandalism include graffiti, window breaking, tire slashing, and other forms of damage. It is a criminal offense that carries significant legal repercussions, particularly for minors. If your teen is faced with a vandalism charge, an Illinois lawyer can possibly help.

Penalties for Juvenile Vandalism

When a teen under the age of 18 is charged with vandalism in Illinois, he will typically face proceedings in the juvenile court system rather than adult criminal court. However, this does not mean the charges should be taken lightly. Depending on the extent of the damage and the teen’s prior record, penalties may include:

  • Restitution: Your teen may be required to pay for the damage he caused.
  • Fines: The court may impose fines as a penalty.
  • Probation: Your teen may be placed on probation, which involves meeting regularly with a probation officer and following certain conditions set by the court.
  • Community service: An individual may be ordered to perform a certain number of hours of community service.
  • Counseling: The court may require the teen to attend counseling or anger management classes.
  • Detention: In more serious cases, he may be sentenced to time in a juvenile detention facility.

Steps to Take if Your Teen is Charged

If your teen is charged with vandalism, it is important to take the following steps:

  • Stay calm and be supportive: Express your disappointment in your teen’s actions, but avoid angry outbursts or overly harsh punishments at home. Your teen needs to know you are on his side.
  • Contact a juvenile defense attorney right away: An attorney specializing in juvenile cases will be best equipped to navigate the juvenile justice system and advocate for your teen’s best interests.
  • Attend all court hearings with your teen: Be respectful to the judge and court staff. Dress appropriately in conservative, professional attire.

Encourage your teen to comply with all court orders, including paying restitution, completing community service, and attending counseling. Support them in meeting these obligations. Reflect on what may have driven your teen to commit vandalism. Is he struggling in school, hanging out with a bad crowd, or dealing with anger or mental health issues? Work with your teen, school staff, and mental health professionals to get them the help and support he needs.

Long-Term Consequences

A vandalism charge on your teen’s record can have lasting impacts on his life. It may affect his ability to get into college, secure housing, or obtain certain jobs. Some vandalism convictions cannot be expunged. It is vital to work with an attorney to get the charges reduced or dismissed if possible and to help your teen move forward in a positive direction.

While a vandalism charge is undoubtedly stressful for the whole family, an informed, proactive approach can produce the best possible outcome for your teen. Provide your teen loving support, but hold him accountable and get him the professional help he needs. With guidance, he can learn from his mistakes and move on to a bright future.

Contact a Plainfield, IL Juvenile Defense Attorney

If your teen faces vandalism charges in Illinois, it is important to act fast to protect his rights and future. Reach out to a Joliet, IL juvenile defense lawyer today to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Call Reeder & Brown, P.C. at 815-885-5980 to start with a free consultation.

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