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Most Common Juvenile Offenses

Depressed teen girl with left hand on her face

In Iowa, juvenile offenses are often handled separately from adults in a separate court system. This allows minors to have cases heard by a judge specifically trained in juvenile law.

If you want legal advice for a juvenile charge, attorneys at Branstad & Olson are experienced in juvenile law and can discuss your rights and options.

Every criminal charge can also be a juvenile offense:


The most violent felonies can be pursued in juvenile court. Other felonies like drug felonies and thefts are more likely to originate in juvenile court. The decision about adult versus juvenile court may need to occur through a hearing after an assessment of the minor.


It is more likely to have misdemeanors originate in or stay in juvenile court. The proceedings are different than adult court because the focus remains on the rehabilitation of the child. Misdemeanors may include disorderly conduct, some forms of assault, driving offenses, and lower levels of theft.

Underage Drinking

Underage drinking can be either a minor or a serious juvenile offense. In addition to answering to criminal charges, a minor may be required to attend alcohol education or treatment.

Possession of Tobacco Products

In 2020, Iowa’s governor signed into law that anyone under 21 would be prohibited from purchasing tobacco products. The penalties for violating this law vary but typically includes a fine, community service, or even probation.

Part of the reason for this change was due to the increasing number of teenagers and young adults using tobacco products. In fact, according to the CDC, tobacco use increased by nearly 40% among high school students in recent years.

While the penalties for possessing tobacco products may be relatively minor, they can have an impact on a minor's record and perception.

Des Moines Juvenile Crime Attorneys

Many offenses are relatively minor and can be handled through probation, education, or community service. Some juvenile offenses have severe consequences. If you or your child is caught in a legal matter, contact the experienced juvenile crime attorneys at Branstad & Olson. Our team is ready to work toward the best possible resolution. Reach out through our online contact form or by calling (515) 329-3100

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