A juvenile crime is a criminal act that is committed by a minor (person below the legal age of 18). In Florida, the most common types of juvenile crimes usually involve drugs, underage drinking, violations of probation, illegal sex acts, or violence. When juveniles commit criminal offenses, they can be arrested by law enforcement and be charged with a crime. They will then have to go through the juvenile criminal process, which can be very stressful for them and their families.
Unlike the adult criminal process, the juvenile criminal process focuses on rehabilitating the minor instead of punishing them. It is believed that minors have a greater chance of learning from their mistakes than adults do. For this reason, many of the legal consequences a juvenile faces if he/she is convicted of a crime have to do with getting mental treatment, learning to obey rules, and adding structure into their day-to-day lives.
A criminal defense attorney will play a major role in the way a juvenile crime is handled by the courts. For instance, certain juvenile offenses will be prosecuted as adult crimes, with adult penalties. A criminal defense attorney will be able to negotiate with the prosecution in order to work to have those charges lowered.
Juvenile Offenses & Charges
According to the law, numerous illegal acts are categorized as juvenile crimes in the state of Florida. Some of these crimes are misdemeanors, like trespass, battery, assault, and driving with license suspended or revoke with knowledge; while others are more serious juvenile crimes such as:
- drug crimes;
- sex crimes;
- gang crimes;
- theft crimes;
- violent crimes;
- violation of probation;
- murder/manslaughter; and
- aggravated assault.
How an Attorney Can Help
When a minor has been charged with committing a juvenile crime, it is imperative that the person and their family consult with a criminal defense attorney. A defense attorney can get involved from the onset of the legal process and provide insight and direction as the person’s case progresses. Additionally, a criminal defense attorney can negotiate with judges and prosecutors to possibly have the person’s criminal charges reduced, or in some cases, dismissed entirely.