Juveniles in the State of Florida can be charged and convicted with a broad range of crimes. However, the way that people under the age of 18 are handled after they are arrested, by the courts, and in terms of sentencing varies greatly from that of adults within the Florida state criminal justice system. For example, it is against Florida law for anyone under the age of 18 who committed a crime to receive the death penalty. In addition, many juveniles are given community sentences, placed in juvenile detention facilities, or placed under house arrest, instead of serving times in community jails or prisons.
This also means that juvenile offenders in Florida can receive more rehabilitative services like substance abuse treatment, counseling, and educational services. However, in some cases, parents of juvenile offenders may be liable to pay restitution fees for the crime that their child is convicted of or on probation for. It is very important that parents seek the help of a qualified Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as their child has been arrested.
In some cases, the judge may decide to charge a juvenile as an adult. Although it is entirely up to the judge to do so, it also depends a great deal on the seriousness of the crime and the circumstances surrounding the crime itself. In the case of repeat offenders, an arrest may result in having a case “direct-filed” to adult court. When this is the case, presentation of evidence becomes very important, as your child's freedom is on the line. A Florida criminal defense attorney that has proven experience with representing juveniles in court can help defend your child's rights, as well as assist them with getting any type of rehabilitative services they might need.
Juvenile arrests have dramatically increased in the state of Florida for a number of reasons. For one, the state is a popular tourist destination for families from all over the world. Teens visiting Florida from other states may find themselves in trouble while they are on vacation. In addition, the juvenile population of the state of Florida is increasing. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice reports that the population of kids aged 10-17 increased 2 percent from 2006 to 2010. There are approximately 1.85 million teens in the state of Florida.
Among juveniles, theft is the most common reason for arrest. In 2009, there were over 16,000 juvenile delinquency referrals in the state of Florida, the majority of which were for misdemeanor theft offenses . In addition, there were over 11,000 felony juvenile delinquency referrals in the state that year, the majority of which were for burglary. If your teen has been arrested for a juvenile crime, or you are currently dealing with the Florida juvenile court system, contact T. Andrew Marks, attorney at law. T. Andrew Marks is an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer that can answer your questions directly over the phone or help you schedule an appointment for a free consultation.