Vandalism Attorney For Your Teen

Adolescence can be a trying time of kids acting out and their parents often need to seek the advice of a vandalism attorney. The teenage years, between the ages of thirteen and nineteen, are a hotbed of change and challenges. The average elementary school student is suddenly deluged with hormones, a rapidly changing body, and peer pressure. These years are often plagued with self doubt and shaky confidence as they grow from a child into an adult. Unfortunately this bumpy time can be even more problematic if the teen begins to act out as a vandal.

Vandalism is a crime. It includes any intentional act that destroys or defaces public or private property. Some examples include knocking over mailboxes, spray painting graffiti, trashing school buildings, stealing and damaging cars or mailboxes and lighting fires. While there have been teen pranksters at play for decades, today’s brand of prank has more serious ramifications.

Why would adolescents do such things? Some typical reasons include the following:

– Hostility toward their parents or the property owner: A teen may be feeling out of control and angry toward their parents or whoever owns what they are vandalizing. Parents can be the target of these acts because of discipline vendettas, because they’re always at work and not emotionally available or because of divorce and domestic problems at home. Property owners may be the local high school or a neighbor who has treated them poorly. The kids’ way of getting back some power may unfortunately be to trash property.
– Peer pressure: Sometimes teenagers egg each other on and use extremely poor judgment. The destruction may have occurred when a practical joke or dare got out of hand. There are times when a growing teen fails to think through consequences.
– Drunkenness: If a group of kids has been binge drinking, they may decide to vandalize in response to their altered state. Everyone does stupid things when they are drunk and teens are no exception. They might not even remember what they did the next day.
– Stealing to buy drugs: If an adolescent has become addicted to drugs, he or she may do anything to get money to pay for their next fix. A drugged state may also cause irrational behavior and vandalism.
– Street Artists: Some graffiti is done by talented individuals. It’s unfortunate that their chosen medium is spray paint and their canvas is the side of a fence or building. As beautiful as some of these paintings are, graffiti is a criminal act.

If a teen has gotten themselves into a run-in with the law with one of the above offenses, a vandalism attorney needs to be brought on board as soon as possible.

Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence – A Correlated Generalized Deviance

I believe it is safe to say that a majority of defendants charged in our courts with animal abuse have prior domestic violence convictions as well. It is because of the “generalized deviance” that domestic violence and animal abuse are correlated. Anti-social behavior of different levels can happen in one individual but how that individual came to exercise the deviance is more complicated as there are many pathways that lead to it. An example of one of these exercises is the individuals use of violence or other anti-social manipulations to “solve” problems which is called “modeling” and explains why violence is often intergenerational. Although animal abuse and domestic violence are correlated, it varies as to which occurs first.

But are there any numbers we can connect here; any studies conducted to make this deviance a little more tangible? A study done in New Jersey found that in 88% of households where children were physically abused, there were records of animal abuse as well. In Wisconsin, four out of five battered women cases revealed the partner had been violent toward pets. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted a study of abuse victims after arriving at domestic violence shelters and found that 85.4% of women and 63.0% of children reported incidents of pet abuse. The Chicago Police Department’s Domestic Violence Program compiled a history of arrestees for animal fighting/animal abuse for the period of 2000-2001 and found that approximately 30% had a conviction of domestic violence on their record. Animal abuse is often associated with other serious crimes such as drug offenses, gangs, weapons violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence and the individuals committing these acts of violence against animals are viewed as a danger to the public and therefore, must be addressed. The whole premise of an animal abuser is to demonstrate power. The abuser will batter an animal to hold control over his family, to isolate them and enforce submission. He will abuse a pet to perpetuate a fearful environment; to prevent a victim from leaving or coerce them to return. They will batter an animal to punish a victim for showing independence.

First responders and professionals who investigate abuse should be aware and trained to observe the cycle of violence. Some states practice this observance and take it a step further by implementing cross-reporting laws. When an animal control officer is called to investigate animal abuse in a home with children, they are mandated to report child abuse when animal abuse is confirmed. Children are generally more willing to discuss what happened to a pet than they are to their own victimization. In Ohio, any child under the age of 18 years of age who commits cruelty to a pet, is required to undergo psychological evaluation to determine individual or family counseling as necessary. The legislation also permit’s the court to include a protection order for any companion animal in the home of the person seeking a criminal protection order, domestic violence protection order, a civil stalking order, a sexual offense protection order, or the approval of a civil domestic violence consent agreement. Often a partner will abuse a pet that is in the home as a tactic to keep the victim under control. It is understood that many victims will not leave when it puts their pets in harm’s way. When questioning victims and their children, first responders should be alert for signs of child and/or pet victimization. They should ask if the abuser or anyone else threatened to harm their pet and ask if they need help finding a safe place for their pet to go if they leave. Many victims will not prosecute their abuser however, animal cruelty prosecution can result in incarceration or treatment that is equal to results from a domestic violence prosecution.

Domestic Violence Shelters, Animal Shelters, and Humane Organizations can do much to offer protection for animal victims. When working with abuse victims in their safety planning, be sure they include their pets. Question them about any threats or injuries to their pets. Work with legislators to include pets in orders of protection and educate judges on the necessities of these inclusions. Team up with your local animal control and humane organizations and local domestic violence shelters to establish emergency housing of pets coming from homes experiencing violence. If there is no space available, establish a network of homes that provide emergency care for these pets through foster care agencies then incorporate these connections in school programs where they might reach children who are at risk of family violence. Also, many YWCA’s have pet shelter programs that are in partnership with the humane society, local clinics, kennels, stables, and veterinarians.

Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence often choose to stay in abusive relationships to protect their pets. A study shows that 71% of women seeking “safe haven” in domestic violence shelters had companion animals threatened, hurt, or killed by their abuser. Many victims never even go to a shelter because of this fear for their pets. It is in recognition of this fact that many states have passed laws including pets in court-issued orders of protection and to include any animal that is harmed or threatened with harm in the state’s definition of “domestic violence.” Society doesn’t consider animal cruelty as severe as violence against humans but it is increasingly viewed as a serious issue by professionals in law enforcement and mental health. Effective prosecution of animal abuse can provide early and timely response to those who are, or who are at risk of becoming, a threat to the safety of others. It is a tool for protection for victims of family violence, developing new skills and understanding which will help build a truly compassionate society.

California Statutory Rape Crimes and Punishments

What is statutory rape? As defined by the FBI, statutory rape is characterized as nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent.

In California, the age a person can no longer become a victim of statutory rape is 18. The statutory rape law in California is titled “Unlawful Sexual Intercourse” and can be located within the California Penal Code Title 9 Chapter 1 Section 261.5.

In California, it is a violation of state law to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 18. It is also a violation of state law for 2 minors under the age of 18 to engage in sexual intercourse.

Adults engaged in sexual intercourse with minors can be charged with “Unlawful Sexual Intercourse” in the state of California. This crime could be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on certain factors including, but no limited to:

  1. Prior criminal history of the perpetrator
  2. The age of the minor involved
  3. The age difference between the minor and the perpetrator.

Prior to 1993 California laws primarily gave “victim” status to females. After 1993 the laws were shifted to a “gender neutral” position and there have been numerous cases of females being charged as perpetrators of this crime.

Sex between two consenting minors is a violation of the state law and charges can be filed against one of the minors involved. Even though the laws are now gender neutral, it is still the male who is most commonly prosecuted as the perpetrator in cases involving consenting heterosexual minors.

Juvenile court judges have authority to recommend transfer of juvenile cases to the adult court under varying circumstances.

Will it be a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Section 261.5

  • (b) If the perpetrator is less than 3 years older than the victim = Misdemeanor
  • (c) If the perpetrator is more than 3 years older than the victim= Misdemeanor or Felony
  • (d) If the perpetrator is 21 and victim is under the age of 16 = Misdemeanor or Felony

What are the potential Jail times and fines for these crimes if convicted?

If convicted under (b) above:

  • (b) Misdemeanor = possible jail up to 1 year
  • (b) Misdemeanor = Civil penalty up to $2000 if minor is less than 2 years younger
  • (b) Misdemeanor = Civil penalty up to $5000 if minor is at least 2 years younger

If convicted under (c) above:

  • (c) Misdemeanor = possible jail up to 1 year
  • (c) Felony = possible jail up to 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years prison
  • (c) Felony or Misdemeanor = Civil penalty up to $5000 if minor is at least 2 years younger
  • (c) Felony or Misdemeanor = Civil penalty up to $1000 if minor is at least 3 years younger

If convicted under (d) above:

  • (d) Misdemeanor = possible jail up to 1 year
  • (d) Felony = possible prison time 2, 3, or 4 years
  • (d) Misdemeanor or Felony = Civil penalty up to $25,000

Within the statute, the law is categorized and punishment is defined by age difference. A California prosecutor has latitude to determine whether charges will be misdemeanor or felony in many cases.

The Birth of Internet Crime

The birth of the internet has transformed the world as we know it. It has clearly grown to astronomic proportions since it became a household name in the mid 1990’s. If you were born before 1980, you have watched the world change from using rotary telephones to iPhones. These days nearly everything can be controlled by the touch of a button.

Bills can be paid online, movie tickets can be purchased online, you can talk to your loved ones online, and you can take a complete college course – without having to step foot on campus. The possibilities of the internet are endless – and technology is changing more rapidly than we can learn to understand it.

Today, teens and individuals in their twenties are grasping and exploiting computer technology like never before. Children are already known for their marked ability to learn and assimilate information at a very young age – absorbing and utilizing the internet and computer systems are no different than learning how to build a tree fort. For some families, their 13-year-old can build an entire computer system as his father built a model car the generation before.

With the advent of the internet, came an entirely new way to commit crimes. The terms internet crime, cybercrime and computer crime are used interchangeably. Simply put, internet crime or cybercrime is a form of crime where the internet or computers are used as a medium to commit crime.

Internet crimes are vast and expansive and can include anything from downloading illegal music files to stealing someone’s identity. Cybercrime can also include stealing millions of dollars from online bank accounts to distribution child pornography. One of the most common forms of internet crimes involves identity theft which is commonly done through phishing and pharming. These methods set up fake websites (that appear legitimate) to lure unsuspecting victims. People are asked to give out personal information such as name, address, phone numbers and bank accounts. Criminals then take this information and “steal” the person’s identity.

Internet crimes are not limited to targeting the consumer; cybercrimes have gone so far as to take on global proportions. Cybercrimes can also encompass criminal activities such as espionage, financial theft, and sabotage. In May 2010, the Pentagon established the new U.S. Cyber Command, which is headed by the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), to defend American military networks. It also serves to attack the computer systems of other countries.

Due to the fact that criminal activities have spread at a rate that law enforcement has had difficulty keeping up, entire task forces have been developed to crack down on internet and cybercrimes. There is a method called electronic discovery, or e-discovery, which is a type of cyber forensics. Electronic discovery is a process employed by law enforcement where they can obtain, secure, search and process any electronic data for use as evidence in a legal investigation. Electronic discovery can involve just a single computer or it can incorporate an entire computer network.

When you are facing allegations for internet or cybercrimes, it is essential that you seek the advice of a highly skilled attorney who you can trust. When your future is at stake – you need somebody who is familiar with both computer technology and the criminal justice system. You are urged to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you learn more about what steps you can take to protect your legal rights and your future.

Crime and Delinquency

According to the formal definition , any action that is legally prohibited by the law can constitute a crime. At present, crime has become an integral part of our lives in the sense that we are all so much used to it simply because we hear or face crime every other day. In a society that we live in today the mass media has so much influence and sway that it is not a big deal when we wake up in the morning get a hold of a newspaper and read about some brutal murder the story of which is intentionally put in the paper for the sole reason of getting the reader’s attention. Then later in the day we might as well turn on the television and see the official footage where the police apprehend a serial killer who has murdered 15 people up to that point in different areas across the country. And finally in the evening we find some time to relax and watch a movie with a criminal content, which give a vivid thrilling story of an enraged sadistic murderer who kills innocent people left and right in order to accomplish his sinister and mysterious scheme. This is a typical day that a person spends in today’s world and it cannot but influence his or her social attitudes and perceptions. Living in a society like this, people get desensitized and when a new brutal murder is reported on television or in the tabloids not many people pay attention. Violence and aggression expressed in the movies do their job and the real-life situations do not startle people any more. However, there is one field in criminology that always draws my utmost attention and that is delinquency and crimes committed by children and adolescents. One simply cannot ignore such a disturbing phenomenon simply because crimes committed by children range from petty theft and shop-lifting to brutal clearly planned murders that make people stop and think about the world and about its future. It also makes me wonder where this world is going given the fact that we have twelve year old murderers whose transgressions surpass the crimes committed by their older counterparts in terms of brutality and sophistication.

Juvenile crime and delinquency has become a very vital issue in the society at this point in time. Officially a juvenile crime is any offense committed by children or adolescents under the age of 18 years. These crimes are legally referred to as delinquency and would be considered serious offenses, if they were they committed by adults. There are also minor transgressions that are termed status offenses. Those include some minor misconduct such as acts of social disobedience. Status offenses are not usually punished by serving term in prison and delinquency offenses along with the status crimes are all handled by the Juvenile court. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2001) Nevertheless, there are more serious offenses such as murders, rapes committed by minors and those can also be brought to the criminal court and involve more serious punishment. There was a social debate that caused a great deal of controversy concerning the age that children can be actually held accountable for their personal actions. According to Anglo-American law, the definition of crime implies any action that is prohibited by the law with a criminal intent. The proponents of the theory that children cannot be responsible for the offenses that they commit maintained that children under the age of 14 cannot theoretically have a criminal intent due to a variety of factors. This infancy defense that was argued to be very theoretically consistent was eventually disregarded by most juvenile courts as people realized more and more that acts of delinquency can be committed by children of virtually any age. All crimes are committed with a criminal intent otherwise it is not a crime. Therefore the age factor is now discarded as something totally inconsistent with most psychology and criminology doctrines. (A. Bandura, 1973, pp. 134-137)

Juvenile crime is so overwhelming today that the importance of this issue cannot be overestimated. Delinquency acts and crimes committed by children range from petty shoplifting to smoking marijuana to more serious offenses such as rapes and murders. According to the statistical data reported by the bureau of statistics, the level of crime among children has been steadily decreasing since the middle of 1970s . Nevertheless the public seems to be more aware of this problem because of the thorough coverage by the media and press. During the 1980s the reports showed that every fifth person that was arrested for some public violation or more serious offenses was under the age of 18 years. In other words 20% of all crimes are committed by children and adolescent. Like I have already mentioned in the 70s reports portray a much grimmer reality where all statistical indicators almost in all possible categories of serious offenses were much higher. Furthermore the crimes committed by under-aged females constituted a much greater portion. At present the juvenile crime reportedly has been slightly going down for more than 5 consecutive years but nevertheless some experts assert that the data reflected in those reports is slightly underestimated and the overall level of juvenile crime and delinquency has been significantly underreported. The activities that are deemed to have been underreported include mostly street crime such as gangs, shoplifting, marijuana smoking, drugs and also acts of vandalism. Therefore, it is believed that the actual crime level is virtually higher than it was in the 1980s (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2002 edition).

The essential component of juvenile crime is said to be a group or a gang activity (A. Bandura, 1973, pp 263). Children most of whom have run away from homes live on the street and consequently form and gang. The activity of such a group usually involves acts of vandalism and petty shop-lifting, and theft. They also engage in acts of violence when two or more gangs compete for the right to exist in a particular city district. That oftentimes involves use of lethal weapons such as knives, sticks, or sometimes even guns. When there is a collision between two gangs there is a very high possibility of violence and sadism. Children brutally fight with one another as though those were two armies that went to war. The objective of such gang activity is material gain. The social gang is a relatively permanent group of youths who generally exist in accord with society. Besides the shoplifting and vandalism gangs also engage in drugs distribution. Gangs may attack a person on the street with a purpose of steeling his or her money (Encyclopedia Britannica 2001).

There are several theories that make an attempt to explain why criminals act the way they do and essentially why they display aggression, hostility and eventually commit something outrageous and atrocious. One of theories of psychology that tries to analyze people’s behavior is referred to as social learning. This doctrine asserts that human behavior is essentially shaped by the society and by parents starting from the infancy stage. Social learning is based on the premise that people are very likely to link certain behavior to some particular emotions or feelings that they associate with it (A. Bandura, 1973, pp 74-77). For example aggression might be linked to some incidents that make person feel angry, aggravated or nervous. These emotions in turn trigger that behavior that is the direct consequence. This model can also be applied the other way around. When a positive emotion is stimulated in a person’s mind it is very likely that it will trigger a good behavior. By contrast, when a person is overwhelmed with aggression and anxiety, that most likely will trigger a negative response and consequently will make a person display hostility and destructive behavior. The social learning theory asserts that a person’s behavior can be interpreted and the actual cause or the stimulator can be identified in all possible situations. It also maintains that human behavior can be controlled and indeed modified. Of course it is not always so easy to modify behavior among the adults because they already have shaped their mind and perceptions of the world but sometimes it can be done. The theory further explains that a human brain is very sensitive to outside stimulation and a proper behavior can actually be reinforced by eliciting proper emotions and feelings that are very like to trigger certain behavior in a person. Most motivation techniques are built on these premises and they postulate how the proper behavior can be invoked among the employees in the workplace. One such technique suggests that a manager must reinforce good behavior through sincere appraisal. That implies that whenever a person does a good job a manager acknowledges his or her professionalism that elevates a person’s self-esteem. Or there can be a specific reward that will do the job whenever employees fulfill their task the proper way. In psychology this is called reinforcing the good behavior (R. Baron, 89, pp 234). A person is very likely to repeat the good behavior. By the same token, an employee will be more motivated to do a good job because it is known that diligent work will eventually get him or her that reward. In a similar fashion, negative behavior can be reprimanded. Whenever a worker does a bad job he will be properly punished by the management and that will develop sort of an instinct or rather a habit in his consciousness that will prevent that sort of behavior from ever happening again. Punishment of course can vary but the idea here is to make a person understand that bad performance will not be tolerated. It is vitally important to make it clear that bad performance will prevent the employee from achieving his or her personal objectives that may include promotion, high salary, certain benefits etc. All these techniques are built upon this doctrine of social learning. Definitely, it does not hold true for all possible situations because the human brain is for sure one of the most complicated and sophisticated things possible. Therefore there may be cases where these assumptions fail to explain what is really going on and why that particular behavior is trigger by that particular emotional stimulation. There are incidents where the behavior of a human-being simply cannot be understood neither can it be interpreted by any psychological theory. Nevertheless, the theory of social learning proved to be very effective in understanding criminal conduct. It also gives us an insight into why normal people become criminals in the first place and then how criminals are motivated to do what they do and what makes them commit crime. Criminals are people too and they also have emotions and feelings and even though some people maintain that their actions are most of the time irrational and make absolutely no sense, I think that there is a deep psychological trauma or an emotional incident that made a person make that very first step towards self-destruction and gradual personal degradation (R. Baron, 1989, 256-268).

There are various theories that try to explain the psychological nature of juvenile crime and how personality traits and psychological peculiarity may be linked to it. Others may attempt to view juvenile crime as a purely social phenomenon that is virtually brought about by the society (A. Bandura, 1973, pp 45). There is some truth to all of them even though most of these theories are subject to criticism. One of the reasons that children engage in crime is because society dictates them to do so. Violence that is constantly portrayed in the movies definitely has some impact on children with vulnerable not-yet-shaped moral values and standards. Also, another big factor that I think is very important is they way parents bring up their children. That plays a crucial role. That explains why juvenile crime is at such a high level in the US as compared to other European countries. Parents do not have time to spend with their children and do not pay adequate attention to them. Also, domestic abuse definitely affects child’s psychology. Home and family is associated with something essentially bad and evil in the minds of children who are physically abused by the parents. Therefore the only way for them is to go on the street where they think they are independent of their parents and do not have to put up with that attitude any longer. Some children might as well be unsatisfied with their current status in a society and they view crime as self-actualization. Even though all these theories are true it is difficult to explain each particular case using just one approach. This problem is multifaceted and therefore a thorough psychological analysis must be conducted before we understand the nature of the dilemma. Juvenile crime is a serious issue and we have to pay our utmost attention to this issue and attempt to alleviate the situation by any means possible.

Bandura, A. (1973). Aggression: A social learning analysis. N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Burton, J. (Ed.) (1993). Conflict: Human Needs Theory. Macmillan Press.
Encyclopedia Britannica, Deluxe Edition, 2001.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 2002 Edition.
White, Robert (1989). Psychology: the essential science. New York: Random House.