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How juvenile tricks can get them anything but treats this weekend

This weekend, streets all across the U.S. will be crowded by ghosts, superheroes and Disney princesses as kids in Halloween costumes run from house to house trick-or-treating. But Halloween is also a time for kids to get into some trouble when they pull pranks or test the boundaries of the rules they are supposed to follow.

Many teens will get into some trouble this weekend; for some, that trouble will mean grounding or revoked phone privileges. But for other young people, it could mean a run-in with police and an arrest.

There are certain rules -- also called status offenses -- that apply to young people because they are intended to protect them; once they are 18, those rules no longer apply. But until then, a teen could end up facing some serious consequences for breaking these rules.

For example, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and staying up too late may not seem like such a big deal to people who are of legal age. But it becomes a much different story when a teen is caught violating curfew, smoking or in possession of alcohol in Arizona.

Of course, many times these offenses are minor and young people may not be facing harsh penalties other than a good scare. But in other situations, juvenile offenses could mean a court hearing, a sentence for detention and jeopardized educational and career opportunities. 

In order to avoid the most severe penalties, teens and their parents would be wise to understand the laws that are in place in Arizona. Many people may not worry about them unless and until something goes wrong, but that time could be this weekend.

It might be easy for parents to try and ignore the severity of the situation or be okay with a young person learning a lesson through aggressive punishment. However, it can be a tragic mistake to allow one youthful mistake or bad decision to affect a young person's future. In order to protect a teen from unnecessarily aggressive penalties for a juvenile offense, it can be a good idea to speak with a criminal defense attorney who can work to defend teens against charges. 

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