Florida Juvenile Crimes Lawyer in Naples, Florida
Defend Your Child’s Rights with Musca Law on Your Side!
Mistakes are a part of growing up. Still, on occasion, some of these mistakes can break state or local laws and/or result in the death of another juvenile or adult, regardless of whether or not this death was intentional. In many cases, some juveniles can be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Consider that if your child has been arrested for committing a crime in the state of Florida, he/she will potentially face severe punishment. Furthermore, these convictions can destroy his or her reputation and stir up problems once your child reaches adulthood. Although the juvenile justice system is much different from the regular criminal justice system, that doesn’t mean these juvenile offenders are going to receive more mercy than adults.
Your priority is your child’s safety, which is also our priority at Musca Law. For more information, call (239) 793-5297 to speak to a representative at our office in Naples, Florida.
Some Notes about the Juvenile Justice System
Simply put, the only major difference between juvenile offenses and adult criminal offenses is the fact that these offenses are committed by minors (people under 18 years of age), not adults. Likewise, the juvenile justice system follows a different guideline for dealing with offenders. Such crimes could result in civil citations or actual arrests conducted by law enforcement.
Once a juvenile offender has been arrested and taken into custody, a number of things could take place, depending on the nature of the offense. In severe cases, juveniles could be processed through the adult court system, while under alternative circumstances the juvenile may be detained in a secure detention center for a period of 21 days preceding his/her court hearings. Once the case has been brought to court, officials may withhold adjudication, resulting in the youth’s placement in a community supervision program. In some cases, the court may pass judgement, and the juvenile will be placed in a secure residential commitment facility.
If a juvenile is convicted for the crime, this offense will most likely remain on their record, unless adults take action to seal or expunge these records.
What Juvenile Offenses Does Musca Law Handle?
Ultimately, the type of offense committed by the juvenile and his/her previous history will determine what penalties this individual will potentially face in court. The more severe the crime, the more severe the punishment.
Here at Musca Law, we represent juveniles who have been accused of committing a wide range of crimes, including the following:
- Drug possession
- Drug trafficking
- Sexual assault
- Sexual battery
- Sexual crimes against children
- Shoplifting and other theft-related crimes
- Traffic offenses
- Underage drinking
- Vehicular homicide
Adults have to undergo enough stress while facing the consequences of committing a crime in Florida, so imagine how intimidating and confusing this situation can be when you are a juvenile. Understandably, an arrest for a juvenile crime is a serious situation and is never dismissed with only a simple slap on the wrist. What actions you take after the arrest can either make or break the situation.
Arresting Juvenile Offenders in the State of Florida
As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVII Chapter 985.101, police officers must adhere to the following rules when detaining a minor:
- The police officer must adhere to the orders issued by a circuit court.
- If the juvenile committed a crime that has been categorized as a felony (by adult criminal justice rulings), the arresting officer must notify the superintendent (or the official designee) of the juvenile’s school district. Legal officials must release all information related to the crime to the school district within a period of 48 hours.
- Arresting officers cannot place juvenile offenders into the same vehicles used to detain adult criminals who have been arrested.
By law, taking a juvenile into custody is not identified as an arrest.
How Are Juvenile’s Cases Managed in Florida?
Florida Statute Title XLVII Chapter 985.14 dictates that the department will assign juvenile criminals to juvenile detention officers if this child was not:
- Released from police custody
- Sent to participate in diversionary programs
- Sent to participate in community arbitration
- Sent to a department (judicial handling)
Ultimately, juvenile assessment personnel are responsible for supervising all activities concerning the juvenile intake process (case management system). During this process, these supervisors will identify the singular needs of an offender and develop a non problematic program and location to compensate for these requirements.
The intake of juvenile offenders typically involves screening and comprehensive assessments (possible option), which may also include:
- Detailed mental health screening
- Assessing cognitive impairment
- Determination of previous problems with substance abuse or addiction
- Evaluation of psychosexual activities
What Are the Criteria for Sending Kids to Juvenile Detention?
As dictated in Florida Statute Title XLVII Chapter 985.24(1), court orders and findings related to juvenile crimes in the state of Florida will be based on evidence that proves (without any doubt) that the juvenile offender in question:
- Will not be appearing at a hearing (possibly).
- Is a high-risk offender who poses a threat to other people (as shown by the recent use of deadly weapons and firearms and the exercising of violent behavior).
- Has previously committed crimes resulting in property damage (prior to arrest or adjudication).
- Has disobeyed/interrupted court orders and, as a result, has been held in contempt.
As shown in Chapter 985.24(2), children who have been arrested for committing delinquent crimes or acts of violence in the state will not be sent to secure detention centers for the following reasons:
- To help a parent, parents, or guardian avoid responsibilities regarding the care of the offender.
- To provide convenient access to the juvenile.
- To allow officials to interrogate the juvenile and conduct further investigations.
- To compensate for the lack of effective facilities.
How Officials Determine if Children Should Be Sent to Juvenile Detention
Florida Statute Title XLVII Chapter 985.255(1) dictates that any child who has been detained by police officers and released into the care of detention officers will be granted a court hearing in the window of 24 hours. During the hearing, members of the court will decide if the child must undergo further detention time, especially if the convict:
- Recently escaped or absconded from a residential commitment program.
- Committed a crime that is categorized as a felony (if it had been committed by an adult offender).
- Committed a delinquent act that threatens his/her safety.
- Was charged with the possession and/or use of a firearm on school property.
How Juveniles Are Convicted as Adult Criminals
Florida Statute Title XLVII Chapter 985.56(3) dictates that, if court officials have determined that the juvenile is guilty of a crime that typically results in punishments of life imprisonment or the death penalty, the juvenile will be processed and sentenced in the same manner as an adult. Once the sentence has been determined, the child will be handled in the same manner as an adult, all processes taking place outside the juvenile court system. Future cases concerning this culprit will be passed through the common criminal justice system.
What Role do Parents and Guardians Play in Juvenile Crime Cases?
As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVII Chapter 985.513(1 a-b), any court that wields control over a child criminal may issue the following orders:
- If the parent and/or guardians did not make a strong effort to prevent the child (in their care) from committing the delinquent activities, these people must take part in community service projects as part of public service programs.
- Parents and/or guardians must put forth a quantity of money to compensate for damages/losses that victims suffer due to the juvenile’s crime.
Important Details about Detaining Juvenile Offenders
Please review the page for youth detention produced by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice for more details about how juveniles are processed in the State of Florida.
The Process of Detention Risk Assessment Instrument (DRAI)
Initially, officials created the Detention Risk Assessment Instrument (DRAI) over 25 years ago to create suitable placement processes for juveniles who have been arrested and screened by staff at the department. Overall, the staff utilizes the DRAI procedure to determine if juvenile offenders should be:
- Shipped to a secure detention facility prior to a hearing for this detention.
- Placed in a community-based detention program (supervised prison release).
- Released without any requirement of supervision in the near future.
In a period of 24 hours after being detained by police officers, the juvenile criminal must be taken before the court, where judges will consider if this child requires further detention supervision.
Consider the fact that the DRAI was initiated by the department, connects courts across the state, and utilizes advanced information cataloged from the juvenile court system. For more information about the DRAI program, please review Florida Statute Title XLVII Chapter 985.245 concerning the process of juvenile risk assessment.
Details about the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI)
In connection with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has created and supported the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), which is created on the foundational belief that all juvenile offenders should have the opportunity to grow into responsible adults and lead productive lives. Launched in 1992, the original JDAI was established in urban and rural communities in the state of Florida and was created to reform juvenile offenders.
Ultimately, the JDAI:
- Protects public safety.
- Prevents overcrowding in detention facilities.
- Allows taxpayers to conserve money by reducing the number of these facilities.
- Implements efficiency tactics in the juvenile justice system.
- Creates a more promising future for juvenile offenders and their loved ones.
Considering Options for Services and Probation for Juvenile Offenders
According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, juveniles (people who are under 18 years of age) who are convicted of crimes in Florida are directed to the department officials (almost identical to the procedure used to process adult criminals in the common criminal justice system). Overall, the department, State Attorney, and court officials will discuss options for the juvenile’s probation and services.
The department also provides an option for diversion, which offers programs as alternatives to the common juvenile justice rulings for child criminals convicted of minor offenses. Some examples of these diversion programs include:
- Boy and Girl Scouts
- Boy and Girl Clubs
- Civil Citation
- Community Arbitration
- Intensive Delinquency Diversion Services (IDDS)
- Juvenile Alternative Sources Program (JASP)
- Teen Court
What Are Some Exceptions to the Florida Diversion Programs?
Once a juvenile offender is released, he/she will be assigned to a probation officer, who will monitor the child’s participation in the aforementioned diversion programs and compliance. Furthermore, this officer will help the juvenile build connections with providers. However, you must understand that not all juveniles will be sent to diversion programs.
Ultimately, the juvenile may be forced to live in a residential facility if he/she:
- Does not cooperate with the probation officer.
- Is set to be charged for serious criminal offenses.
- Has a criminal record from past crimes.
A Note about Sanctions/Conditions for the Juvenile Offender
Once the court concedes that a juvenile offender may take part in a diversion program, the juvenile may face different conditions, expectations, and possible sanctions which he/she may be required to follow:
- Providing restitution (payments) to the victims of the crime he/she committed
- Avoiding all contact with the victim(s) of the crime
- Completing all hours of enforced community service
- Writing a letter of apology to the victim(s)
- Sticking to a set curfew
- Forfeiture of a driver’s license to legal officials
- Avoiding all contact with co-defendants, companions, or other people who the court has labeled as “unsafe” or “inappropriate”
- Seeking references from local agencies for service
- Counsel for mental health problems and/or substance use disorders
Mistakes Are a Part of Life. Let Us Fight for Your Future!
If your child was arrested for committing a crime in Florida, his/her best chance of regaining freedom is to retain the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in juvenile defense cases. Our knowledgeable lawyers at Musca Law provide quality legal representation to all of our clients and boast over 150+ years of combined legal experience for your benefit. Call us today at (239) 793-5297 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.