Breaking the law

You are breaking the law if you take anything that doesn't belong to you.

If you are caught breaking the law you could face serious punishment. You could be jailed for up to seven years in prison if you are caught shoplifting.

There are lots of different crimes, including:

  • Damage to property
  • Theft of property
  • Violence
  • Sexual offences (If they say no or maybe this never means yes)
  • Fraud

Each of these offences can affect the victim. Think about how you would feel if any of these crimes were done to you.

If you commit a crime, this can make a big difference to your life. Because you will have a criminal record, you may not be allowed to do certain jobs or go on holiday to some countries.

Once you have a criminal record you may find that people will treat you differently because they will not trust you. It will also have an impact on your future. You may not be allowed to travel to certain countries or do particular jobs.

The influence of friends

Sometimes our friends can suggest we do things even though we feel it is wrong. It can be easy to get caught up in a situation when you are trying to impress your friends but things can look very different in the morning.

It's good to spend time with your friends, have fun and make each other laugh but remember to think about other people. It's also an important part of growing up to think about other people. A big group of young people can seem very intimidating to someone by themselves.

Make sure your behaviour doesn't make other people feel threatened.

If you break the law, one of the following will happen

  • Restorative Justice – You will have to make up for what you have done, meaning you may have to meet your victim in order to apologise.
  • Caution – You will be warned about your behaviour
  • Conditional Caution – You will be warned about your behaviour, but you will also be expected to do extra, like go on a course to help you change your behaviour.
  • Charge to court – If what you have done is serious or you have committed lots of crime before you could go to court. Where you may end up in a young offender’s unit, a prison for young people.

Virtual Court


Are you going to court as a victim, witness or an offender? Visit the virtual court to find out more about how it works.

Content uploaded: 28/07/2015 16:58 | Modified: 25/01/2022 16:42