If your child has been accused of a crime, one of the first questions a parent will ask is “Should we hire a Ft Lauderdale juvenile defense lawyer to represent our child?” The answer is a resound yes. Speaking with an experience Fort Lauderdale juvenile charges attorney can help you decide what you need to do today to protect your child and the child’s future.
When a person under the age of eighteen is charged with a crime in Florida, the case is often handled in the Juvenile Justice System. The Juvenile Justice System is different than the adult Criminal Justice System because the focus is on rehabilitating juveniles, rather than punishing them. However, in limited instances, some juvenile cases are “Direct Filed” to adult court. While infrequently done, direct filed cases are usually the result of a repeat juvenile offender who has committed a serious crime or in high profile cases.
An accusation against a juvenile can result in juvenile delinquency record, and possible placement outside of the home. Protecting the child’s future career and educational opportunities are crucial. It’s very important for minors and their parents to aggressively fight a criminal charge, as a conviction may result in probation, detention or imprisonment, but it can also take a heavy toll on their future, making it difficult to get into college or find a good job.
In any juvenile criminal case, like in adult criminal cases, the first step is determining whether the prosecutor has sufficient evidence to prove each element of the offense alleged. The next step is an investigation to uncover all facts that the defense can use to establish the child’s innocence or mitigate any punishment.
A juvenile does not have all of the same protections that an adult has to defend himself against a false or exaggerated accusation. Most notably, there are no jury trials in juvenile court under Florida law. If the case goes to trial, the juvenile court judge will determine your child’s guilt or innocence. The juvenile does have certain valuable protections, such as the right to a speedy trial.
It is important to hire an experienced Fort Lauderdale juvenile charges attorney in these cases. An experienced Fort Lauderdale juvenile crimes defense attorney will be able to evaluate the case and best advise you and your child how to attack the case.