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Florida Juvenile Delinquency Defense Lawyer

One of a parent’s worst nightmares is finding out that his or her child has been arrested and is facing criminal prosecution. While this could be a one-time mistake, the possible long term repercussions could affect their son’s or daughter’s future. Based on these long term consequences, It is important that that action is taken immediately so that their case can be resolved in a manner that minimizes long term consequences.

Florida’s Juvenile Justice System:

The purpose and intent of the Florida Judicial System regarding minors is, “to increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention and treatment services that strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth.” While The Florida Juvenile Delinquency System focuses on rehabilitation, rather than punishment, it is important to note this process can bring about a criminal record which could affect your child’s future employment, education, and reputation.

Juvenile Arrest Process:

Fort Lauderdale Juvenile Defense LawyerWhen a child is taken into custody, the person taking the child into custody shall attempt to notify the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child. The person taking the child into custody shall continue such attempt until the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child is notified or the child is delivered to a juvenile probation officer, whichever occurs first. Following this notification, the parent or guardian must provide identifying information, including name, address, date of birth, social security number, and driver’s license number or identification card number of the parent or guardian to the person taking the child into custody or the juvenile probation officer. After a juvenile is taken into custody, they must be brought before a judge within 24hrs.

Juvenile Delinquency Prosecution:

After a person under the age of 18 is arrested in Florida and charged with a crime, his or her case is placed in the Juvenile Justice System. After a child is arrested, the paperwork is then turned over the State Attorney’s Office who must make a decision on whether to file charges, or send the youth directly to a diversion program.

Meanwhile,  an “Intake” Juvenile Probation Officer receives a copy of the charge from law enforcement or the clerk of the court. The Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) will contact the youth and family and conduct an interview to gather information about the youth and family. This information will assist the JPO in making an assessment and developing a plan to address the offense. During this process, the JPO will consider: the nature of the offense, the risk the youth presents to the community, damages incurred to the victim by youth’s actions. The JPO then makes a recommendation to the State Attorney’s Office which includes a plan to ensure adequate protection of the community, accountability of the youth to the victim and a rehabilitative plan to address the youth’s needs and prevent recurrence of delinquent behavior.

Diversion Programs:

The recommendation presented by the Juvenile Probation Officer to the state attorney may recommend a “non-judicial” diversion program. If this recommendation is approved by the state attorney, the youth and guardian may be required to sign a “waiver of speedy trial” agreement. With this agreement the youth and family agree to waive their right to a speedy trial with the understanding that the youth will complete all the requirements of the diversion program. If the youth successfully completes the program, no further action (no judicial action) will be pursued by the state attorney. However, if the youth fails to complete the program, the state attorney will file a petition with the juvenile division of the circuit court, formally charging the youth with the delinquent offense. Even if the sentencing official chooses to have the charges filed, it is still possible to get into this diversion program resulting in your child’s charges being dismissed.

Delinquency Court Structure:

Similar to adult courts, the State has the burden to prove each and every element of the offense charged beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt. Differing from adult court practices, there is no right to trial by jury, no right to bail, and a child can be detained for up to 21 days after the arrest. If the alleged crime is a serious felony, the minor can be held for an additional 9 days.While adult and juvenile courts are separate from one another, with certain felony offenses, there is a possibility that jurisdiction of the youth’s case may be transferred to the adult criminal division by: Direct File, Waiver, or Indictment. When this occurs, the youth will be tried as an adult, and faces the possibility being sentenced as an adult.

At the Garvin Law Firm, we understand the importance of dealing with juvenile cases early and staying involved throughout the entire process to ensure that your child’s case is resolved in a manner that minimizes long term negative consequences. After working as a juvenile prosecutor in Broward County, Leland Garvin, has not only acquired the legal knowledge of how the juvenile justice system works, but also has developed a close working relationship with those that make the system work.

Please contact our office today to discuss your child’s pending charges.

-Fort Lauderdale Juvenile Defense Lawyer Webpage-
-Miami-Dade Juvenile Crime Attorney Information-


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