Juvenile Crime Lawyers in Orlando, Florida
Florida’s Number One Juvenile Crimes Lawyer
If you have been arrested for a juvenile crime, it is a scary time. Not only will you have serious consequences to think about, but you will also need to worry about how the charge will affect the rest of your life. Will you be able to go to college? Do you have to spend time in a Juvenile Detention Center? Will the charge be upgraded to being charged as an adult?
Growing up, everyone makes mistakes. We at Musca Law Firm in Orlando understand that better than anyone else. If you are facing a charge of juvenile crime, please call us at (888) 484-5057. We have a team of attorneys that have over 150 years of collective experience. They can develop the best possible defense in your case. We want what is best for your life and will fight for you and your rights.
Juvenile Crimes Defined
Juvenile crimes are defined as crimes that are committed by an individual under the age of 18 years. These crimes will be handled by the Juvenile Justice System. The main focus of the Juvenile Justice System is to place a focus on rehabilitating the individual instead of punishing them.
Some cases in juvenile courts are passed along to adult courts as a “direct file." This is rarely done, but can be done for those that are repeat offenders that commit serious juvenile crime.
Juvenile Offenses Musca Law in Orlando
Musca law firm in Orlando handles various juvenile offenses. These include:
- Sexual crimes against children
- Traffic Offenses
- Shoplifting and other theft-related offenses
- Underage drinking
- Vehicular homicide
- Drug possession
- Drug trafficking
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
Underage Drinking in Orlando
In Orlando, it is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. An underage drinking charge in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor. This resulted in fines of $1,000, court costs, pre-trial diversion classes, and up to 60 days in jail. An individual's driver’s license may also be suspended.
If a minor used someone else’s ID to purchase alcohol, it would be charged as a misdemeanor in the second degree. Fines for this will be $500 with the possibility of up to 60 days in jail. The person’s driver’s license may also be suspended.
If the ID is stolen or is fraudulent, the person will face a third degree felony. This is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. They will also face having their driver’s license suspended.
Juvenile Assault in Orlando
As per the Florida Statutes Section 784.011, the assault is defined as “an intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to commit violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other people that such violence is imminent.”
Penalties for Juvenile assault in Orlando include:
- Felony and Misdemeanor Charges
- Diversionary Courses
- Residential Treatment Programs
- Time in a Juvenile Detention Center
- Adult Jail Time
If the juvenile crime of assault was serious enough, the minor could be tried as an adult. If tried as an adult, the penalties are much more serious.
Juvenile Burglary in Orlando
As per the Florida Statutes, Section 810.02, burglary is defined as “entering or remaining in a dwelling, a structure, or a conveyance with the intent to commit an offense therein, unless the premises are at the time open to the public or the defendant is licensed or invited to enter or remain.”
If a person is inside the dwelling at the time of the burglary, it will be classified as a felony of the second degree. If there is no one inside, it will be considered a felony of the first degree.
A person can break a lock on the door of a home, and then decide not to rob it and still be charged. This is because they had the intent to burglarize a property.
Florida’s Juvenile Justice System
The Department of Juvenile Justice System has minors referred to them as having committed juvenile crimes. A referral is similar to an arrest for an adult offender. However, the Juvenile Justice System does not have the same laws as the adult courts do. The Juvenile Justice System prefers to educate offenders and impress upon them what the effects of unlawful activity can have. First time offenders have the chance to rehabilitate with a goal to never reoffend again. The mission of the Florida Juvenile Justice System 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.”
How Juvenile Criminal Cases Unfold
A criminal juvenile case could proceed as follows:
- A law enforcement officer will arrest the juvenile for the crime that has been committed. An arrest document will be filed out, stating what the charges are. If no arrests are made, law enforcement officials will investigate the crime. They will then submit a complaint to the State Attorney’s office. His attorney will then decide if there is probable cause that the suspect did commit the crime.
- A court will hold a detention hearing within 24 hours if the individual is arrested. Generally, it will be held the following morning after an arrest. The judge will make a decision on whether to release the minor or not. If released, the judge will decide what conditions need to be followed in order to protect the victim. A no-contact order may be issued to the defendant. If the judge wishes, he or she can keep the defendant in the detention center for up to 21 days.
- After the state attorney’s office has received a complaint from a law enforcement officer, the Assistant State Attorney will review the case. Testimony can be taken at this time under oath by the victim and witnesses. Charges can then be filed if the assistant state attorney feels there is enough evidence for the crime. If the state cannot file formal charges against the defendant, no petition will be filed. The petition is a formal charging document. There could be many reasons as to why it was not able to be filed. These include:
- Legal defects in the case
- Lack of evidence
- Victim decided against the case
- Witnesses could not be found
- At this point in the case, the minor can utilize one of several pre-trial diversion programs. Teen courts are one that many first-time offenders are referred to. Other pre-trial diversion programs include:
- Community Arbitration
- Juvenile Alternative Services Program (JASP)
- Intensive Delinquency Diversion Services (IDDS)
- Civil Citation
- Boy and Girl Scouts
- Boys and Girls Clubs
- Mentoring Programs
- Alternative Schools
- At this point, the minor will be eligible for an arraignment. Here they will be notified of what charges are being filed against them. The judge will also advise if an attorney is needed if the defendant does not already have one. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed if they need one. A plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest will be entered. If the plea is not guilty, the case will move forward. If a guilty plea is entered, the minor can be sentenced immediately. The same is true of a plea of no contest.
- Witnesses can be interviewed before the trial. This interview is known as the deposition. The victims could be subpoenaed by an attorney for the defendant requiring them to appear to give a statement. This will be taken by a court reporter and the victim will be sworn in beforehand. It will be recorded. Also sitting in on this interview will be the attorney of the defendant and the assistant state attorney.
- A week before the hearing, a pretrial conference will be held. The defendant could have one last chance to plead. They are required to attend this hearing.
- The case will be held before a judge without a jury. Witnesses can be presented by the defendant. They can also testify if they wish but do not need to. The defendant has the right to be in the courtroom during the trial.
- Before sentencing, the court could request that the Juvenile Justice System do a PDR on the defendant. This will include a sentencing recommendation that the judge can review. It will include the circumstances, criminal history, and background of the defendant.
- The judge will sentence the defendant in a manner that is appropriate to the case. He or she may be placed on probation. They could possibly be placed in the Juvenile Justice program. Depending on their risk will depend on how much time must be served:
Sanctions and Conditions Juveniles Should Follow For Diversion Programs
The following sanctions or conditions maybe ones that a juvenile will have to follow if they enter a diversion program:
Steps To Take After Your Child Has Been Arrested for a Juvenile Crime
If your child has been arrested for any juvenile crime, you should follow the following steps:
- Low-risk programs that last from 30-45 days.
- Moderate risk programs that last from 4-6 months.
- High-risk programs that last from 6-9 months.
- Juvenile Prison that lasts from 18-36 months.
- If the conditions of probation are not met, the defendant may have to attend a compliance hearing. These are generally set up for individuals who fail to pay restitution or court costs.
- A curfew
- Restitution for victims
- Community service hours
- A letter of apology to the victims
- Substance abuse
- Mental health programs/counseling
- Avoiding contact with victims
- Forfeiting my driver's license
- Referrals to social service agencies
Parents/Guardians Role in Juvenile Crimes
As set forth by the Florida Statutes, Section 985.513 (1 a-b), the court who is presiding over the juvenile’s case could order a parent or guardian of the minor to:
- Call an attorney right away. Do not talk to any police officer or give any statements. A skilled attorney can handle all of this for you. Anything that you say can be held against you.
- Do not give any written statements. You can wait for an attorney before you give this.
- Collect any information that you feel would be beneficial for your attorney.
Everyone Makes Mistakes! Let Musca Law Firm in Orlando Correct Yours!
Everyone makes mistakes - no one on this Earth is perfect. Just because you make a mistake does not make you a bad person. You can let Musca Law Firm in Orlando fight for you and your rights. We are here for you so you have a brighter future.
Our law firm has extended night and weekend hours for your convenience. We accept phone calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Besides having offices in Orlando, we also have offices in other Florida cities, such as New Port Richey, Daytona Beach, and Clearwater. We serve the entire state of Florida. All of our attorneys are experienced in handling criminal law. We will offer you a free initial consultation to make sure we are the right fit for your case. Please call us at (888) 484-5057 today. We look forward to meeting you and helping you with your future.
- “Order the child’s parent or guardian, together with the child, to render community service in a public service program or to participate in a community work project. In addition to the sanctions imposed on the child, the court may order the child’s parent or guardian to perform community service if the court finds that the parent or guardian did not make a diligent and good faith effort to prevent the child from engaging in delinquent acts.”
- “Order the parent or guardian to make restitution in money or in kind for any damage or loss caused by the child’s offense. The court may also require the child’s parent or legal guardian to be responsible for any restitution ordered against the child."