Any criminal allegation against a child is serious and the effects can be long-lasting. Tough-on-crime prosecutors often seek consequences that will be devastating to a child's future and may impact educational and career opportunities. Juvenile charges can result in a delinquency record and even placement in a facility or state-run program outside the home.
The Florida Juvenile Justice System originally was created to rehabilitate rather than to punish children. However, it still is understandably a scary place for a parent to maneuver on behalf of their child. If your son or daughter has been arrested, it is important to hire an experienced juvenile lawyer in Tallahassee, FL, so your child is not detrimentally affected for the rest of his or her life.
Never let your child talk to a law enforcement officer until AFTER you have consulted with an attorney.
Defense Attorney for Juveniles in Tallahassee, FL
You may not know where to turn for the help your child needs in fighting these serious allegations. The Tallahassee juvenile lawyers at Pumphrey Law can help you understand your child’s rights and how to protect them. When you discuss the facts of your child’s particular case with a defense attorney, they may be able to find defenses or other factors to have your child’s charges reduced or even dismissed.
Call Pumphrey Law for a consultation on your child’s case in Tallahassee, Florida in Leon County or any of the surrounding counties through the Big Bend region of North Florida, including Quincy, Crawfordville, Monticello, and Bristol.
Call (850) 681-7777 for a consultation.
Juvenile Crime Information Center
- Juvenile Delinquency in Florida
- Juvenile Civil Citation Program in Florida
- Consequences of Juvenile Crime
- Juveniles Tried as Adults in Florida
- Florida Juvenile Justice Resources
In Florida, juvenile delinquency includes anyone under the age of 18 who has been charged with any crime. Some of the more common charges for juveniles include:
- Under 21 / minor in possession of alcohol
- Underage / juvenile DUI
- Simple possession of marijuana
- Shoplifting / petit theft
- Criminal mischief
- Sexually motivated crimes against a younger child
If your child has been charged with a crime, he or she will likely be processed and evaluated at the Leon County Juvenile Assessment Center after they have been arrested. Upon assessment in the Juvenile Assessment Center, your child will then either be released to their home, be placed on home detention or placed in secure detention.
After your child is released or detained, there will be a hearing in front of a judge, followed by judicial proceedings. The circuit courts in Florida hold jurisdiction over all juvenile cases. There is no option for a jury trial in juvenile court. If your child’s case goes to trial, your child’s innocence or guilt is based only on the judge’s decision.
Juveniles do have the advantage of a speedy trial by law, and in Florida, your child’s trial will occur within 90 days of their arrest, or from the date the petition is filed, whichever occurred first. Though juvenile proceedings in Florida are technically considered civil matters, rather than criminal matters, the consequences of an arrest and guilty verdict are equally as devastating to a child.
Florida provides for a civil citation program for first-time misdemeanor juvenile offenders under Florida Statutes § 985.12. The civil citation program in Florida is for juvenile offenders who have committed non-serious delinquent acts, and provides for an alternative to custody in the Department of Juvenile Justice.
A juvenile offender who is eligible for this program will be required to complete up to 50 community service hours, and may be required to participate in family counseling, urinalysis monitoring, substance abuse and/or mental health treatment.
The consequences of juvenile crimes, in addition to an effect on the juvenile’s future opportunities, can include imprisonment, placement in a secure facility under court order outside of the home or probation or house arrest.
Probation usually requires the child to meet certain conditions, such as completing a specific number of hours of community service and paying restitution to compensate the victims for financial damages. It also can include court-mandated counseling for anger management of drug or alcohol abuse. Curfews and mandatory drug testing may also be ordered.
If a juvenile does not qualify for the civil citation program, he or she will have to stand trial for the alleged offense. In these instances, a judge will decide the child's fate. Penalties will vary depending on the severity of the crime and the juvenile’s criminal history. In some cases where the crimes are especially heinous, juveniles are charged as adults and can be sentenced to several years behind bars.
A child can be tried as an adult and even sentenced to federal prison. In Florida, the State Attorney decides if a child is tried in the juvenile or the adult system. Generally, the decision is based on the juvenile’s age, the crime committed and other statutory guidelines.
Upon a guilty plea or verdict, the Department of Corrections usually files a report with recommendations to the court regarding the juvenile’s charges. A child found guilty in adult court may be sent back to the Department of Juvenile Justice for imposed sanctions and programs. It is to a juvenile’s advantage to be tried as a child, and not an adult.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice – The DJJ's mission is to reduce juvenile delinquency through prevention, intervention and treatment services.
Florida Department of Children and Families – DCF was created to improve the lives of individuals and families through an integrated approach that includes finding homes for children in foster care and providing food stamps and temporary assistance for needy families.
Disc Village - a non-profit, community-based agency that provides for the initiation, management, and coordination of delinquency and substance programs in Leon County and North Florida, including programs for juveniles. The program’s Juvenile Assessment Center is located at:JAC in Tallahassee
3333 W Pensacola St, Ste 400
Tallahassee, FL 32304
Phone: (850) 574-8814
Leon County Teen Court - a non-judicial proceeding for first-time misdemeanor and felony juvenile offenders. All proceedings are conducted by trained teen attorneys, bailiffs, and jurors with adult supervision and observation.
Finding a Lawyer in Tallahassee for Juvenile Court
If your child has been arrested, you need help now; time is of the essence. Take the first steps toward safeguarding your loved one's future.Protect your child’s rights today, and contact a juvenile defense lawyer in Tallahassee at the Pumphrey Law.
Our attorneys will work with you to achieve a positive outcome for your child in Leon County, Florida or any of the surrounding counties, including Gadsden County, Wakulla County, Jefferson County, and Liberty County.
Call (850) 681-7777 for a free consultation.
This article was updated on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.
Attorney Don Pumphrey Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney.