Imposing lifelong consequences for teen behavior is contrary to adolescent development research, which confirms what parents already know-teenagers are impulsive and often make bad decisions, but they are also malleable and capable of change. The mistakes they make as teenagers are not predictive of who they will be as adults.
But when a 17-year-old commits a crime, is he or she considered a juvenile or an adult? The answer to that depends on the state in which the crime was committed. Increasingly, individual states are enacting laws that recognize 17-year-olds as juveniles, reversing laws that suggested they are adults.