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Our Youth

Legal Responsibilities

Each state has particular laws that deal with acts committed by youth and adults. Just because someone is under a certain age (16 in New York State) and considered a juvenile does not mean that laws do not apply to them. A criminal record can affect a person later in life— some schools or employers may not accept you. What you might think is a harmless prank or “no big deal”, could hurt your future.

Theft Taking things that do not belong to you without the permission of the owner is theft. Theft is also referred to as the crime of “stealing”. When items stolen are taken from a store, it is often called “shoplifting”. There is no difference between shoplifting and theft.

Drug Laws The possession or use of marijuana is against the law and penalties in- clude fine, probation or jail. The penalties for offenses involving hard drugs, such as cocaine, speed and crack or large amounts of marijuana, can be very serious, especially when a federal law is broken. The selling of any illegal drug is a very serious offense.

Alcohol Laws It is against the law to serve or permit liquor to be served to minors (under 21) anywhere, including in the home. It is against the law for minors to have alcohol in their possession in a public place or in a car at any time. Anyone over the age of 16 who helps a minor to obtain alcohol can be charged with a felony crime punishable by imprison- ment and/or a fine.

Alcohol, Drugs and Driving In New York State the penalty for a first offense conviction of driving while intoxicated may include jail time, a fine, loss of driving privileges and a requirement to participate in a drug or alcohol treatment pro- gram. In addition to the criminal penalties, it is likely that insurance rates of the convicted driver will be higher for a period of up to ten years. Depending on the situation, your parents may be responsible for any penalties, fines or damages.

Vehicular (Car) Injury or Manslaughter If you are driving while intoxicated and injure or cause the death of another person (manslaughter), you may be charged with a felony crime. If convicted, you may be fined and/or imprisoned.


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