Unfortunately, it is a story that is not uncommon: those under the age of 18 are charged with a crime for various reasons, serve time in Juvenile Detention, and then are released.  Once released, they try to move on with their lives, trying to become active and productive members of society. Unfortunately, the monetary fines that are associated with juvenile charges often follow them into their adult lives, burdening them with financial obligations and making the difficulties they already face even more challenging.

In the past few years, a lot of research has been conducted to determine how the charges and fees that people face in the adult criminal justice system are leading them into serious financial difficulties. Because of these financial challenges and the high cost of legal fees and fines, all too many individuals are arrested and serve lengthy prison sentences – likely as a domino effect from being in such a significant financial hole. The people who are impacted the most were arrested and charged with minor infractions, served a sentence in a juvenile corrections facility, and are ordered to pay astronomical fees that they simply cannot afford.

Alex Piquero, a criminology professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, joined forces with the Juvenile Law Center (JLC) in Philadelphia to study the impact that extensive legal fees and charges have on juvenile offenders. The associate director of the Juvenile Law Center, Jessica Feireman, found that teens as young as 13-year-old were left with the bills for attorneys that were appointed by the court, mandatory drug tests, witness fees, supervision for probation, GPS monitoring and diversion programs. She also found that a large amount of those who are facing such fees simply cannot afford to pay them, which all too often leads to future criminal behavior and incarceration.

The JLC discovered that among 20 states, fines for even the most minor infractions are imposed on juveniles, and they or their family are legally obligated to pay those fines, particularly costs related to probation and supervision. In 31 states, the courts are legally authorized to collected payment from children or their families for various types of testing. Furthermore, in an astounding 47 states, parents are charged if their children have any involvement in the criminal justice system. Sadly, many children and their families simply cannot afford to pay the fees, which often leads to further legal ramifications, including future incarceration, for juveniles and their families.

If you or a loved one is facing legal fees as a result of juvenile charges, it is in your best interest to seek the legal guidance of a Miami criminal defense lawyer. A criminal attorney in Miami will be able to guide you through the process of handling these fees and will ensure that your future is not jeopardized. With the help of a Miami criminal defense lawyer and a criminal defense law firm behind you, you will have the peace of mind that you deserve.

We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions, (305) 615-1285.

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