State law in Florida defines a juvenile as any person under 18 years of age or any person who is alleged to have committed a violation of law occurring prior to the time that person reached 18 years of age. The term is used synonymously with child or youth, and an arrest at such a young age has the potential to creating a lasting impact well into that individual’s adult life.
Alleged juvenile offenders and their parents can frequently be confused about how the state's juvenile justice system works and what possible penalties children might face. In many cases, alleged juvenile offenders may be eligible for diversion programs that focus more on rehabilitation than punishment.
Are you or your child a juvenile who was recently arrested in Florida? You will want to immediately contact The Hoffman Firm so you can fully understand what your rights are and what legal options you might have.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami who represents underage clients in Miami, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Aventura, Key Biscayne, Hialeah, Opa Locka, and many other parts of Miami-Dade County. He can review your case as soon as you call The Hoffman Firm at (305) 249-0090 to set up a free, confidential consultation.
- Which kinds of crimes are juveniles usually accused of?
- How are juvenile criminal cases different from adult cases?
- Where can I learn more about the juvenile justice process in Miami-Dade County?
Common Types of Juvenile Charges in Florida
Technically, a person under the age of 18 can be charged with most any violation of the law that an adult can. Juvenile arrests, however, typically stem from many of the same kinds of alleged crimes. A few of the offenses that juveniles are most frequently charged with include, but are not limited to:
- Minor in Possession;
- Possession of Fake ID;
- Criminal Mischief;
- Misdemeanor simple assault;
- Misdemeanor battery;
- Disorderly Conduct; and
- Resisting Arrest.
In the cases of first-time misdemeanor offenses, police officers in Miami-Dade County may issue citations to alleged juvenile offenders instead of placing them under arrest. The Civil Citation Program (CCP) still involves treatment that may include community service, counseling, and/or drug testing.
Criminal Process for Juveniles vs. Adults in Miami-Dade County
When a juvenile is arrested in Florida, the police may take the minor to a Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) for intake to determine if the juvenile needs to be temporarily placed in a secure detention facility or they may release the minor to a parent or guardian either with a referral to a juvenile diversion program or forwarding the criminal charges to the court.
In certain cases, juveniles may be prosecuted in adult courts, but it is generally more favorable for alleged offenders to be tried as a child rather than an adult. Alleged offenders in juvenile cases have the right to a lawyer and their guilt still must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Juveniles do not, however, have the right to a jury trial as their cases are decided by the judges who hear the cases.
Juvenile courts in Florida generally try to focus on rehabilitation rather than imprisonment, but the nature of an alleged offense or prior criminal records can lead to some alleged juvenile offenders not being accepted for diversion programs. In such cases, the court sentence convicted juveniles to prison, probation, or other penalties, but a criminal defense attorney can help negotiate to achieve the most favorable outcome.
Florida Juvenile Crime Resources
Juvenile Services | Miami-Dade County — Visit this website to learn more about the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department (JSD). You can find information about the Juvenile Assessment Center, the assessment process, and various diversion services. The website also lists juvenile justice partners, has an archive of press releases, and covers the history of the JSD.
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida | Juvenile Division — The Juvenile Division handles delinquency proceedings in Miami-Dade County. On this website, you can learn more about the Juvenile Delinquency Division, Delinquency Drug Court, and court reporting services. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions about the juvenile court.
Juvenile offenses can be detrimental to both the child and parents or legal guardians involved. It can be an emotional time for the entire family, and can result in a costly legal process or a criminal record for the juvenile. This type of stressful situation calls for a defense attorney who takes juvenile cases seriously, and will work towards the best solution.
If you or your child were under 18 years of age when you allegedly committed a criminal offense in Florida, it is in your best interest to make sure that you have legal representation as soon as possible. Call The Hoffman Firm at (305) 249-0090 to schedule your consultation with a defense attorney. The Hoffman Firm helps youths facing criminal charges throughout Miami-Dade County.
Miami criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman is a former prosecutor who represents alleged juvenile offenders in Miami, North Miami, South Miami, and many other surrounding communities. You can receive an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.