Juvenile Crimes, Defenses and Diversion Programs in Florida
Juvenile delinquents, youthful offenders, and juvenile offenders refer to minors (children under the age of eighteen) who commit crimes. Proceedings involving juveniles are different in each state and can be complex. Youth in America sometimes commit crimes, but as they become more mature, they are better able to discern between right and wrong as well as better understand the laws and rules of society. Misconceptions and ignorance often get children in trouble by leading them in the wrong direction, where their actions give rise to criminal charges. However, the law recognizes that children sometimes make mistakes, which is why criminal proceedings involving minors are different than those for adults.
When adults are charged and convicted of a crime, the point behind those penalties is to deter them and others from committing further crimes. With adults, an emphasis is placed upon deterrence and punishment since adult criminals should, at this juncture, know the difference between right and wrong and how to respect our nation’s criminal laws. Otherwise stated, criminal proceedings involving adults are based upon the fact that crimes committed by adults are simply inexcusable.
Conversely, proceedings involving juveniles are different because the same set of circumstances in adult cases do not apply. Meaning, sanctions that apply to juveniles are meant to rehabilitate and educate youth so that they do not become an adult offender in the future. Although it depends upon the type of offense, sentences imposed on juveniles are typically less severe, as they are offered the chance to divert themselves from the Florida criminal justice system. Moreover, their records are typically sealed from the public record to prevent them from being deemed criminal offenders. This is meant to decrease the likelihood that they will become repeat offenders.
The most common juvenile offenses include, without limitation, the following:
- Petit theft
- Aggravated assault
- Drug-related offenses
- Aggravated battery
- Disorderly conduct
- Underage drinking
- Felony drug violations
- Grand larceny
- Misdemeanor obstruction of justice
Under Florida law, juveniles are given the opportunity to change their ways through juvenile diversion programs that seal their criminal records and offer them a second chance to avoid being engaged in criminal activity that can hinder their professional and personal growth and future job aspirations.
When a minor is convicted of a crime, oftentimes they are required to complete a certain amount of hours of community service, take courses on alcohol and drug abuse, attend educational seminars, and write an apology to their victims. Statistics demonstrate that minors who have been convicted of a criminal offense are more likely to engage in criminal behavior in the future. As such, Florida has designed programs that attempt to educate and divert the state’s youth from committing further crimes without permanently affecting their records and destroying their future.
Per the International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology, there is significant support for the effectiveness of juvenile diversion programs. Statistics suggest that juveniles who undergo these programs are less likely to commit further crimes than other youthful offenders. If you have been charged with a crime as a juvenile in Florida, it is critical that you hire an attorney who is familiar with the juvenile criminal justice system and who knows how to file for a first-time diversion program on behalf of a minor.
Juvenile court is always favored by defense attorneys, as the sentences are typically less severe. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all offenses are eligible for juvenile prosecution. Crimes such as aggravated battery, murder, rape, and aggravated burglary are just a few of the crimes that will likely cause a judge to deny a motion to proceed in a juvenile proceeding. While it depends upon the state, the minimum age to be tried as an adult is typically as high as sixteen or as low as twelve.
Why an Attorney is Necessary in a Juvenile Offender Case
If your child was recently charged with a criminal offense, do not allow them to be subject to the country’s broken criminal justice system. Contact Musca Law today to safeguard their legal rights and to help them avoid the serious penalties associated with a juvenile criminal proceeding. Every child deserves a second chance after mistakenly engaging in impulsive or reckless behavior. The dedicated Florida Juvenile Offender Defense Attorneys at Musca Law know that every child makes mistakes and that they deserve a second chance to do the right thing in the future. Juveniles do need to learn that their behavior may carry with it serious legal repercussions, and the value of law as it applies to our community. Our Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys have represented countless juveniles and have received favorable results in many of these cases.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact Musca Law immediately at (888) 484-5057 to learn more about your legal rights and options. Call now to protect yourself from being faced with the serious nature of Florida’s criminal justice system as it pertains to juveniles.
Don’t Wait – Contact Musca Law Now to Learn More About Your Legal Rights and Options
The repercussions of a juvenile conviction are serious and may negatively affect your life for years to come. Don’t be afraid to put the skills of an experienced Florida Juvenile Defense Attorney on your side. The skilled legal team at Musca Law has the experience and resources necessary to help fight your charges. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today by calling (888) 484-5057. We look forward to making a difference for you.