When teens don't know they're breaking the law


Raising a teenager can be tough. School, hormones and peer pressure can add stress to both their life and yours as a parent. Teenagers aren't known for making the wisest choices, and some of those decisions can have more dire consequences than a parent or child may realize. 

Here are just a few situations teenagers may face that can come with legal consequences.

Technology has introduced a new problem for parents to worry about. Sexting, defined as the exchange of sexually explicit photos and text messages, is prevalent today thanks to smartphones, email and social networking. Minors across the nation who are caught sexting may find themselves in legal trouble, even if the shared photo or message is consensual between all parties. 

Minor in Possession
As of 2012, underage drinking and driving had dropped by more than 50 percent over the past 20 years. While this is good news, underage drinking in all 50 states can still land a teen a citation or even a night in jail. And the same holds true for drug possession or use, even in states where marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized. 

Some cities around the country have their own juvenile curfew laws, often during school hours and specified overnight periods. If unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, teens in these jurisdictions must be driving to or from school or work, or running an errand for an adult. Otherwise it must be an emergency for them to drive alone during curfew hours.