Juvenile Crime Lawyers in New Port Richey, Florida

Defend Yourself with 150+ Years of Experience at Musca Law

Everyone knows that growing up can be hard. It is a learning process for everyone. The older you get, the more you know. Our juvenile crimes attorneys realize that it is a natural part of growing up to make some mistakes along the way. We also understand that sometimes a person is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or that someone made a mistake that they will regret for the rest of their lives. These could be intentional or unintentional actions that could potentially violate local, state, and/or federal laws. 

Any juvenile that has committed a crime could potentially face serious and strict legal consequences. If your child has been convicted of a juvenile crime in New Port Richey, Florida, you should consider contacting Musca Law Firm as soon as possible. These charges against your child could tarnish not only their reputation, but yours as well. It is in your best interest to find an attorney that can fight for your son or daughter aggressively. At Musca Law Firm, that is exactly what you will get. 

With over 150 years of combined legal experience among our team of highly qualified attorneys, Musca Law has successfully tried numerous juvenile justice crimes throughout the history of our firm. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at (727) 480-9675 to schedule a free initial case consultation with one of the experienced attorneys in our New Port Richey office.

Juvenile Offenses Handled in New Port Richey

At Musca Law Firm in New Port Richey, our attorneys handle a variety of juvenile offenses, which include the following:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Underage drinking
  • Sexual assault
  • Solicitation
  • Sexual battery
  • Prostitution
  • Shoplifting and other theft-related offenses
  • Vehicular homicide
  • DUI
  • Drug possession
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Sexual crimes against children
  • Traffic Offense
  • Burglary
  • Robbery

The penalties the minor faces will be based on the severity of the crime, along with the juvenile’s past behaviors. The crimes that are most severe will be prosecuted most harshly by the law.

Any charge given for any crime can be confusing and intimidating. Any adult can tell you this, so imagine being a minor going through this. Juvenile offenses often have harsh penalties. However, making sure to take the proper steps to obtain effective legal counsel will significantly help a minor in the long run. Charges may be reduced or dropped if a juvenile makes sure to participate fully in the legal defense strategy created by their Musca Law criminal defense attorney.

Juvenile Offenders Taken into Custody in New Port Richey

When a minor has been taken into custody in New Port Richey, law enforcement must follow a set of protocol that was set forth by the Florida Statute XLVII 985.101:

  • All orders issued by the circuit court will need to be followed by a law enforcement officer.
  • If the minor committed a crime that is labeled as a felony for an adult, the officer that is arresting the child will alert the superintendent of the minor’s school. Any information must be released to them within 48 hours. 
  • The law enforcement officer who is arresting the minor shall not place them into a vehicle with an adult that has also been arrested. 

A juvenile that has been taken into custody is not the same as an arrest.

Juvenile Justice System In New Port Richey

Crimes that are committed by juveniles are basically the same as crimes that have been committed by adults. The main difference is that juvenile crimes are committed by those who are minors, and adult crimes are committed by those who are over the age of 18. However, the juvenile justice system does have different procedures than that for adults. Any contact with a police officer or law enforcement could result in a civil citation or an arrest. 

After a Juvenile Has Been Arrested in New Port Richey

When a minor has been arrested in New Port Richey, they will be taken into custody. Depending on how severe the crime is will determine if the case is charged as an adult level crime. There are secure detention centers that a juvenile can stay in for up to 21 days before their court date is scheduled. 

When the case does go to court, the minor could be placed in a community supervision program. If a judgment has been passed, the juvenile will be allowed in a secure residential community facility. Any offense that the juvenile has been convicted of will most likely remain on their record unless they have it sealed or expunged. 

Evaluating the Specifics of Case Management for Minors in New Port Richey

If the juvenile has not committed any of the following, he or she will be assigned to a juvenile detention officer per Florida Statute Title XLVII Chapter 985.14:

  • Sent to take part in community arbitration
  • Sent to a department as part of judicial handling
  • Released from police custody
  • Sent to take part in a diversionary program

All activities within the intake process will be part of the case management system. The juvenile’s needs will be determined by supervisors so that a non-problematic program can be created within a location to account for the requirements. A screening and a comprehensive assessment will be done, which will include a full-length mental health screening. An evaluation of psychosexual activities, assessment of cognitive impairments, and the establishment of previous substance abuse or addiction will also be done. 

Requirements for Bringing Adolescents to Juvenile Detention in New Port Richey

When an adolescent offender commits a crime, as per FS Title XLVII Chapter 985.24(1), any court orders or findings will be based on anything that proves that the minor in question meets the following criteria, as per FS Title XLVII Chapter 985.24(1):

  • Won’t likely be present at the hearing.
  • Is a high-risk person who can possibly hurt other individuals (as seen by the recent use of firearms or other violent behavior).
  • Has prior wrongdoings linked to property damage (preceding an arrest or adjudication).
  • Has been held in contempt of the court by interrupting or breaking court orders.

The following reasons, per Chapter 985.24(2) will allow a minor who has been arrested for committing a delinquent crime or an act of violence in the state of Florida to not be sent to a secure detention center:

  • To assist a parent (or parents) to avert obligations regarding the care of the minor 
  • To allow for convenient contact with the adolescent
  • To allow individuals to question the minor and investigate his/her crime more 
  • To compensate for the absence of more adequate facilities

Ruling if an Adolescent Should be Emitted to a Juvenile Detention in New Port Richey

Under FS Title XLVII Chapter 985.255, a minor will be allowed a court hearing after 24 hours has passed once they have been taken into police custody and then sent to their detention officer. If the minor has done any of the following, the court officials could rule that more detention time be served:

  • Has been accused of carrying and/or using a firearm on school grounds.
  • Recently escaped from a residential commitment program (or absconded).
  • Took part in a criminal act that would be viewed as a felony if committed by an adult offender.
  • Performed an act of delinquency that exposed his or her well being.

Sentencing the Minor as an Adult Criminal in New Port Richey

If the minor has been found guilty of a crime that has been punished before by life in prison or the death penalty, the juvenile will be prosecuted and sentenced the same as an adult offender. This is per FS Title XLVII Chapter 985.56(3). The minor will be treated as an adult once the sentence has been given. Any further cases will be given to the regular court. 

New Port Richey’s Role of Parents/Guardians in Juvenile Offenses

A parent or guardian of a minor could be ordered by the court under the FS Title XLVII Chapter 985.513(1 a-b) to take part in community service. This may be ordered if the parent or guardian did not have the best interest of the child in order to prevent this delinquent activity from happening. If there were damages or losses that occurred due to the minor’s offense, the parent or guardian may have to repay some of those damages. 

Detention of Juvenile Offenders in New Port Richey and the Rest of Florida

There are many things that can happen during the detention of a juvenile offender in New Port Richey. Once the minor has had contact with a law enforcement officer, one of two things could happen. The law enforcement officer could give a civil citation. The youth’s behavior will be addressed in a program if it is the minor’s first offense. 

The second thing that could happen is that the minor is taken into custody. The minor’s family will be notified and he or she will be referred to their local Juvenile Assessment Center. A Detention Risk Assessment Instrument (DRAI) will then be used to determine if the youth will be placed into a secure, non-secure, or a home detention center. At this point, the minor could also be referred to the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), Adult Court, or a Diversion Program. 

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Program started in 1992, will help to protect the safety of the public. This program also helps with overcrowding at detention centers, which will help taxpayers save money by reducing the number of centers that are in use. Juveniles will also be able to create a better future for themselves with these programs. 

If the child has had the DRAI done on them, they will then either be required to stay in a secure detention center or wait for their court date at home. This will be dependent on how big of a risk level they are. 

From here, the case could be dropped, which is known as Nolle Prossed. Or it may be adjudication withheld, in which case the youth will be placed on community supervision. They will then meet with their JPO to develop a YES plan (Youth-Empowered Success). Once this has been done, the minor can be released.

The minor could also be adjudicated, meaning they are guilty of the delinquent act. The youth can then be placed on community supervision. They could be committed to a residential facility that will give the child tips to not break the law again. 

If you would like to know more about any of these processes, feel free to visit the Juvenile Justice Process. 

Detention Risk Assessment Instrument (DRAI) 

The Detention Risk Assessment Instrument was created to help determine what the best route for youth is when a crime is committed. After a juvenile has been arrested, they will be seen within 24 hours before the judge. This instrument was developed by the department and has representatives from the Public Defenders Association, the Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Conference of Circuit Judges, the Florida Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

The Florida Statutes 985.245 states: (1) All determinations and court orders regarding placement of a child into detention care shall comply with all requirements and criteria provided in this part and shall be based on a risk assessment of the child unless the child is placed into detention care as provided in s. 985.255(2).

The DRAI will be used to determine where the minor should be placed once the crime is committed. They may not be a huge threat, so they could potentially be allowed to be released without any supervision. Other minors will be placed in a community detention program. Or they could be sent to stay at a secure detention facility to wait for a hearing. 

New Port Richey Attorneys Who Will Fight for Your Rights!

Even the best among us make mistakes throughout our lives, and our New Port Richey attorneys at Musca Law realize this. If you are a parent of a child that has been arrested for a juvenile crime, our exceptional attorneys want to serve you and your family. Our firm knows how precious your children are to you, even if the law was broken. We treat every single one of our clients like they deserve to be treated. Our team will develop a defense for your child that is strong and strategic, in order to most effectively fight for their rights. We truly want what is best for them and will do whatever it takes to get there. Call us today to schedule your free initial case consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Get your case started by calling us at (888) 484-5057 today!