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7 reasons teenagers get in legal trouble

As a parent, you know that it is tough to navigate your way through the teenage years. It's a roller coaster. You do the best you can, but you worry constantly about what could go wrong.

One thing you worry about is getting that call saying that your son or daughter has gotten arrested. For many parents, it comes out of nowhere and really takes them by surprise. Why do teens get into trouble with the law? Here are seven main reasons:

  1. The use of alcohol and drugs. Not only is this use itself illegal, but drugs and alcohol can alter a person's mental state. Your teen may become more impulsive and may do things that later, from a sober perspective, they can't believe they actually did.
  2. Peer pressure. Teens desperately want to fit in, and the peer group they spend time with has a massive influence on their decisions. Just a little pressure at the right time may make your teen do something they never wanted to do, something they regret forever.
  3. Low income. Teens without jobs, especially when they feel like their potential income situation will never change, may be more likely to commit crimes. They may do this to get money or other items that they want, seeing no other way to obtain them. This can lead to everything from petty theft to armed robbery.
  4. Isolation from peers. Unfortunately, some teens become social outcasts. This can lead to depression and emotional instability, which may in turn lead to criminal activity.
  5. Mental disorders. Many mental disorders do not get diagnosed for months or even years. They are not always as obvious as other types of sickness and disease. Without proper care and a good support system, teens may commit crimes and make poor decisions.
  6. No supervision. You cannot watch your teen all of the time, but teens that feel like they have absolutely no supervision are often most likely to break the law. The reason could be that they simply see this behavior as something they need to hide from their parents -- which they can do easily -- rather than something that is illegal. It is crucial for parents to stay involved in teens' lives.
  7. Trouble at home. Do not underestimate the ways that your behavior can impact a child's home life and his or her behavior. Always strive to give your teen a safe place where they feel welcomed and loved.

In December, the law in North Carolina is going to change. Instead of treating alleged offenders who are 16 or 17 years old as adults, they will be treated as juveniles. This can massively change the potential ramifications of the case. If your child is facing charges, make sure that you understand all of the legal defense options you have as this change goes into effect.

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