Are you under the age of eighteen? Have you been charged with a crime? Unlike adults, juveniles are charged in a different court. In Florida, juveniles are tried in the Juvenile Justice System.
In Florida there are several differences between the Juvenile Justice System and the Criminal Justice System that tries adults. Some of these differences are:
- Unlike the criminal system that punishes defendants convicted of a crime, the Juvenile Justice System focuses on rehabilitating the defendant.
- Cases in the Juvenile Justice System are settled faster than those in the Criminal Justice System
- All cases in the Juvenile Justice System are decided by a Judge not by a jury
- In the Juvenile Justice System all defendants are represented by an attorney, unlike the Criminal Justice System that some cases do not require an attorney
If you have been charged in Florida through the Juvenile Justice System, there are a number of stages the defendant will go through:
- After being arrested, the defendant will go to the Juvenile Assessment Center where a counselor will conduct a risk assessment that will determine how the defendant will proceed. Some options are that the defendant will stay detained; he may be released to their parents or daily supervision by the counselor.
- If the defendant is kept detained overnight, the defendant is entitled to a detention hearing within 24 hours of being arrested. The judge has the discretion of whether or not to release the defendant. Some factors the judge will consider are whether the defendant is a risk to the community. If under the circumstances the judge determines to not release the defendant, he will be held in the juvenile detention center for no more than 21 days.
- During this time, the state will look at all the evidence and determine if they have a case to charge the defendant with a crime.
- At the arraignment, the defendant will inform of the charges the state is bringing against him and the judge will ask them to enter a plea. The plea can be guilty, not guilty or no contest.
- After the arraignment, the discovery process will begin. During this time both the state and the defendant will be gathering information from the other party to help prove their case. This is the time that witnesses are subpoenaed to testify, both parties can conduct depositions, interrogatories, etc.
- The next step of the legal process is the trial unless the defendant as agreed to a plea bargain.
At The Hoffman Firm, we have helped clients that have been charged with juvenile crime against them or their child throughout South Florida. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to have someone that will help and guide you through process. It is essential to have someone that will be your voice and has the experience of representing South Florida residents. We are dedicated to providing you with the best help and are compassionate of your needs throughout this process. Call us now at (305) 249-0090 or contact us online to set up your free, confidential consultation now.