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State Report Shows Juvenile Criminal Activity On The Rise In NC

The state recently released its annual report on juvenile crimes which occur in schools. The report tracks 17 types of criminal acts committed by students. Non-violent acts include such things as drug possession and underage drinking. The violent acts involve offenses such as weapons possession, and assault on teachers or staff.

The report shows that statewide, the number of juvenile crimes reported in North Carolina schools rose 4.4 percent from the previous school year. Although the data varies by region and school district, the upward trend is alarming, especially in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS).

CMS saw increases in crime statistics which were higher than state averages. During the 2009-2010 school year CMS reported 215 assaults on teachers, which was up 27 percent from the previous year. There were also 517 reported acts of drug possession, and 543 reports of weapons possession.

Statewide, the report showed about 16 reportable incidents for every 1,000 students. This is a disappointing trend, considering the legal risks which young defendants face. Even non-violent offenses such as underage drinking can result in fines, suspension of a driver's license, and other legal penalties.

However, the real damage usually involves losses to educational and job opportunities. A student with a criminal record may unable to get into the school of his choice, may lose scholarship opportunities, and may be passed over by employers.

Students with legal problems need strong criminal defense representation. Even if the legal consequences don't seem very bad, uncontested criminal charges can wreak havoc on future opportunities.

Source: The Charlotte Observer online, "Dropouts down, crime up in CMS," Eric Frazier and Ann Doss Helms, 03 March 2011

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