Over the past few decades, there has been an overall increase in juvenile crime throughout the United States. With negative influences from society and the media, as well as ever increasing peer pressure, it has become easy for our future generation to get carried away and start rebelling against the system. Juvenile court deals with all kinds of offenses committed by juveniles, ranging from traffic violations to violent crimes. If a juvenile in the state of Florida is indicted by a grand jury, he or she is charged as an adult. This means that the proceedings, rulings, and sentencing become completely different from what you would expect in juvenile court. Given the potential consequences, it becomes necessary to have access to the services of a good Miami criminal attorney to represent you or your loved one.
Process of Juvenile Justice:
The process of juvenile justice is a lot different than regular court. Here is how the process generally works:
- Juveniles Are Taken Into Custody:
Juveniles who are taken into custody and charged with a crime are either taken to a Juvenile Assessment Center or released into parental custody. This decision depends on the seriousness of the offense committed. If placed in a Juvenile Assessment Center or JAC, the juveniles may be placed in detention if they are deemed a risk to themselves or others.
- Charges Are Filed:
The State’s Attorney’s office then conducts a review of the case and files charges in preparation for a hearing.
- Initial Hearing:
A juvenile who is charged with an offense is usually given a hearing within a day or two of detention or release in parental custody. At this stage, the juvenile will enter a plea and the court may order them to provide their own criminal defense attorney.
Juvenile cases are non-jury cases, which means the outcome is solely decided by the judge. Depending on the nature of the offense, it is possible to have lenient sentencing in some cases. The main purpose of juvenile courts is to effectively order and implement changes which will have a positive impact on the juvenile instead of detention. The nature of sentencing if the juvenile is found guilty may include:
- Probation until the age of 19;
- Probation with remedial classes or community services;
- Incarceration until the 19th birthday in a juvenile facility
As mentioned above, under special circumstances, juveniles who are indicted by a grand jury in the state of Florida may be charged as adults. Understanding complex legal requirements and being present for multiple proceedings before the case even begins is simply not doable without the help of a criminal attorney in Miami. In addition to doing all the legwork, our criminal lawyers in Miami will also be able to use multiple resources including private investigators to get a better understanding of the case. Any new evidence or testimony we uncover could help tilt the odds in your favor and result in a positive outcome for the case.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a juvenile crime, contact our office for a free consultation. Criminal defense attorney, Christopher Pagan, Esq., was a juvenile crimes prosecutor for the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office and he is willing and able to help you with your case. Our office is conveniently located in downtown Miami, at 1 NE 2nd Avenue, Suite 200, Miami, Florida 33132.