A juvenile's life can be irrevocably altered by any criminal accusation. Consequences sought by prosecutors with a "tough on crime" stance are often extremely detrimental to a child's future, potentially affecting their access to higher education and potential employment. If a juvenile is found delinquent of a crime, they may be sent to a detention center or other out-of-home programs run by the state.
The primary goal of the Florida Juvenile Justice System has always been rehabilitation, not punishment. Nonetheless, it is understandably daunting for a parent to navigate on their child's behalf. If your child has been arrested in West Palm Beach, Florida, you should get in touch with a skilled juvenile lawyer immediately to ensure that your child's future is not negatively impacted.
Before consulting with an attorney, never permit your child to speak with law enforcement.
West Palm Beach Juvenile Defense Attorney
In the face of such grave accusations, you may feel lost as to where to find your child the support he or she needs to mount a defense. The Law Offices of Ian Goldstein in West Palm Beach has experienced juvenile lawyers who can explain your child's legal protections and assist you in enforcing them. Talking to a defense attorney about the details of your child's case can increase the likelihood that they will find defenses or other factors to have the charges against your child reduced or dropped altogether.
If you live in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach County, Broward County, or the surrounding areas and need legal advice for your child, give Ian Goldstein a call.
Juvenile Criminal Charges in Florida
Anyone under the age of 18 who is convicted of a crime in Florida is considered a juvenile delinquent. Juveniles often face the following charges:
- Petit Theft
- Criminal Mischief
- Possession of Alcohol
- Possession of Marijuana
Your child will likely be evaluated and processed at the local Juvenile Assessment Center if he or she has been arrested on criminal charges. Your child will be evaluated at the Juvenile Assessment Center and then either sent home, given home detention, or placed in secure detention, depending on the results.
Your child will have a hearing in front of a judge after his or her release or detention, and then legal proceedings will follow. All cases involving juveniles in Florida must be heard by the circuit courts. Juvenile court proceedings are not open to jury trials. In the event that your child's case goes to trial, the only thing standing between your child's innocence and guilt is the verdict of the judge.
Your child is entitled to a speedy trial under Florida law, and his or her trial will take place within 90 days of his or her arrest or the date the petition is filed, whichever comes first. Even though a juvenile court case in Florida is technically a civil matter and not a criminal one, the effects of an arrest and a guilty verdict on a minor are the same.
Penalties for Juvenile Crimes in Florida
As well as limiting the juvenile offender's future prospects, the penalties for committing crimes while still a minor can include time spent behind bars, confinement in a secure facility away from home per court order, probation, and even house arrest.
A juvenile offender on probation is typically required to make amends to victims by performing community service or making monetary payments to them. Counseling for anger management and substance abuse may also be mandated by the court. Drug testing and curfews are two other measures that may be imposed.
In the event that a minor is not eligible for the civil citation program, he or she will have to go to court to face charges related to the infraction. A judge will make a decision about the child's future in such cases. The severity of the offense and the juvenile offender's prior record will determine the specific penalty. For particularly egregious offenses, juvenile offenders may be tried as adults and given prison terms of several years' duration.
When are Juveniles Tried as Adults?
A juvenile may be tried and sentenced as an adult in criminal court. The State Attorney in Florida has the authority to decide whether a juvenile will face proceedings in the juvenile or adult court. The age of the juvenile, the nature of the offense, and any applicable laws all factor into the final determination.
At the conclusion of an adult juvenile case, whether through a guilty plea or a verdict, the Department of Juvenile Justice and/or the Department of Corrections typically submits a report to the court outlining its recommendations for sentencing. If a juvenile offender is found guilty in an adult court, he or she may be returned to the Department of Juvenile Justice to serve out any necessary sentences or participate in any necessary treatment programs. To be tried as a minor rather than an adult is in the best interests of a juvenile.
What is Florida’s Juvenile Civil Citation Program?
Under Florida Statute 985.12, first-time juvenile offenders can participate in a civil citation program. Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice offers an alternative to detention for minors who have committed non-serious delinquent acts through the civil citation program.
A juvenile offender accepted into this program may be required to participate in family counseling, urinalysis monitoring, substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, and/or perform as many as fifty hours of community service.
Palm Beach Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer near me
Not all juveniles who are arrested are ultimately found guilty of the crime for which they were arrested. Hiring a skilled West Palm Beach Juvenile defense attorney who will fight for your rights and build a compelling case on your behalf is your best bet for having charges mitigated or dropped altogether. Call (561) 600-0950 right now to schedule a free and confidential consultation with attorney Ian Goldstein to talk about your case.
If you need to discuss your case with an experienced Criminal Defense lawyer in Palm Beach County, Florida, give the Law Offices of Ian Goldstein a call.