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Juvenile Offense Attorneys in St. Pete and Pinellas Park

Has Your Child Been Accused of a Juvenile Offense?

When a juvenile commits a crime, they are not sent to an adult court. Instead, the juvenile is sent to a special court that only deals with juvenile offenders. But, a juvenile offense can be much more complicated because you’re dealing with a minor in the eyes of the law. If you’re child has been accused of a crime, you likely want to get them representation by an attorney. It’s important to note that a juvenile offense case is different from a typical case where an adult committed the crime.

What is a Juvenile Offense?

A juvenile offense or crime occurs when a “minor” typically under the age of 18 – in some jurisdictions, the cut off age is 17 – breaks the law. In Florida, a youth must be under the age of 18 to be considered a juvenile. Juveniles can also break the law when it’s specifically related to their status as a minor. These violations include:

  • Truancy (skipping school)
  • Possession and consumption of alcohol
  • Purchase of tobacco products
  • Curfew violations
  • Ungovernability (beyond the control of a parent or guardian)

These are called status offenses, which would not be considered crimes if they were committed by an adult.

Other common offenses committed by juveniles include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Burglary
  • Larceny
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Trespassing
  • Misdemeanor violation of drug laws
  • Felony drug violations
  • Vandalism

Typically, when a juvenile is convicted of a crime, they receive a wide range of alternatives to incarceration such as completing certain educational or treatment programs, paying restitution,  maintaining school attendance, abiding by a curfew for damages, completing community service or receiving probation.

If a judge chooses to incarcerate a juvenile offender, they will typically serve their sentence at a juvenile detention facility. In some cases, where the crime is more severe (i.e. rape, murder, aggravated assault, etc.), a minor may be tried and convicted as an adult.

Steps to Take if your Child is Accused of a Juvenile Offense

If your child has been accused of a juvenile offense, immediately call an attorney. The faster you get an attorney; the faster the attorney can start working on your case and gather evidence. The attorneys at Oldham and Delcamp have tried and won many cases of juvenile offenses. We are familiar with specific statutes and juvenile court proceedings in the state of Florida. We also know how to respond if a case goes to adult court.

How Long Do Juvenile Offense Cases Take to Settle?

If a juvenile offender has vandalized and destroyed your property, stolen a valuable item from someone, or caused someone physical harm, they might be entitled to pay for  damages in the form of restitution. As for how long a juvenile offense case will take to settle, it often depends on the situation. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to up to a year.

In a typical juvenile court case in Florida where formal charges are brought against a minor, the court will hold a detention hearing within 24 hours of the arrest. Then, the arraignment will take place about three weeks after the arrest. After this, the juvenile is asked to enter a plea. If the juvenile pleads not guilty, the case will go to trial, which can make the process take longer.

After the verdict, the judge may dismiss the case, require that the offender pay restitution for their crime against you and/or impose other penalties. This decision is based on a variety of factors such as:

  • The severity of the offense
  • The juvenile’s age
  • Past record
  • Strength of evidence

 

Schedule a Free Consultation with Oldham and Delcamp

No matter the age of the person who committed a crime, all people, including minors, are entitled to zealous representation. Yet, a juvenile offender can make the case more complicated. Whether you are the parent or guardian of a minor, you want to get that minor who has been accused of a crime an attorney.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation. At Oldham and Delcamp, we can be your advocate and help you achieve the justice you deserve, but you must act as quickly for the best possible outcome.