Juvenile Crimes in Florida
When a juvenile is arrested and ultimately charged with any crime in Florida, that juvenile’s criminal matter is handled by the Juvenile Justice Process in Florida. Most states have similar programs that oversee juvenile crimes and many cases are handled by each state’s family court division. The process for arrest, detention and other consequences associated with juvenile criminal activity will not be the same for every single individual. For example, first-time offenders who likely started hanging out with the wrong crowd may not be considered as high risk as repeat offenders who have not yet learned their lesson from already going through the juvenile court process.
Juveniles in Florida are arrested for committing various crimes including, but certainly not limited to, the following:
- Grand theft, petit theft, and other theft charges;
- Drug possession, dealing drugs, and other drug charges;
- Unlawfully possession firearms, whether concealed or not;
- Robbery and armed robbery;
- Assault and/or battery;
- Manslaughter and Attempted murder or murder.
Depending on the crime at issue, some juveniles, if old enough, may be tried as adults. Florida is a state where juveniles are frequently tried as adults for serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, and other violent crimes. Unlike some states, Florida allows the charging prosecutors to determine if a juvenile should be tried as an adult – not the judge. This is troublesome for many parents because this gives broad “prosecutorial discretion” that often goes beyond what it truly should. Because of the harsh consequences that may result if you or your child is charged as an adult, it is imperative that you speak with a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney who is highly familiar with both the juvenile court system and the adult system.
The Juvenile Court Process
There are a variety of paths the juvenile can take after being charged with a crime in Florida. After being charged with a crime or crimes, the juvenile undergoes a Detention Risk Assessment to determine what potential path may be the best one to take for this juvenile’s particular situation. After the assessment, the charging prosecutor will make one of the following decisions:
- Recommend a diversion program to allow the juvenile to meet certain conditions in lieu of facing prosecution in juvenile court;
- Recommend that the juvenile be transferred from the juvenile court system to the adult court system and tried as an adult;
- Recommend that the juvenile be transferred to a low-risk youth facility to help the juvenile focus on education and gaining the skills necessary to obtain employment in the future; or
- Recommend secure detention or that the juvenile be allowed to wait at home for his or her court date.
Because the charging prosecutor has wide discretion to choose any one of the paths described above, it is essential that you have a highly skilled Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney by your side to work closely with the prosecutor to resolve your juvenile criminal matter in the most reasonable way possible.
Being charged with a crime as a juvenile is frightening as the process is substantially the same as it is for adults as far as being arrested and booked for a crime. The major difference is how the accused is to pay the consequences for his or her actions. If a juvenile is not being tried as an adult, he or she faces rehabilitative measures instead of punitive measures. Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. helps juveniles face the charges against them and move forward with a resolution that truly fits the conduct in question.
It is important to make clear that even though a large number of juveniles are found guilty or plead guilty to a criminal charge, not every juvenile is guilty and there may be grounds for dismissal of the criminal charges. For example, if a juvenile was mistakenly identified as the assailant in a robbery, he or she faces serious felony charges that are simply false allegations.
Marc A. Joseph, P.A. thoroughly investigates each juvenile case to determine if there is a lack of evidence to find the juvenile guilty of the alleged crime and/or whether or not the juvenile’s constitutional rights were violated at some period of time from arrest going forward. No matter how much evidence there may be, or how unlikely it may be that a juvenile will be found not guilty of a crime, each juvenile deserves the best representation possible as his or her rights are just as important as anyone else’s. Marc A. Joseph, P.A. ensures that his representation seeks to protect those rights to the fullest extent possible.
Florida Juvenile Records are Sealed
Because the purpose of juvenile court is not necessarily to punish the accused juveniles, but instead is to rehabilitate them so that they can play an active and important role in society, records reflecting a juvenile’s prior criminal activity will be sealed so that a blemished criminal record does not haunt them right when they are beginning their lives as adults.
One of the worst things that can happen to a juvenile aside from being tried as an adult, is the possibility that a criminal record will prevent them from getting a job, attending a college or university of his or her choice, and/or the ability to rent a home or apartment in the future. Prosecutors and judges in the Florida juvenile justice system are aware of just how catastrophic a criminal conviction can be for a teenager entering adulthood. Sealing all juvenile criminal records provides the juveniles with the same employment and educational opportunities as other teenagers and young adults who have no criminal history, and this is the goal of completing the juvenile justice process in Florida.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. Today for a Free Consultation
uvenile crimes are dealt with in a special manner given the fact that the offenders are simply too young to fully understand the consequences of their actions. If your child or someone you know is facing juvenile criminal charges through Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice, it is imperative that you consider speaking with an attorney right away. While juvenile criminal charges do not always result in the same punishment an adult would face for the same crime, the outcome of the juvenile court process can be essential to helping the child move on and begin a new life with a clean slate as a young adult. With more than 16 years of experience, Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A. provides well-rounded legal representation to clients of all ages and all walks of life. With his skill and dedication, Marc A. Joseph, P.A. is able to help many young clients successfully overcome their criminal charges. If you would like to speak with Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Marc A. Joseph, P.A., contact our office today to schedule your free consultation by calling (813) 234-6374. Marc A. Joseph, P.A. is available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns.