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Florida may make parents responsible for their children's crimes

A proposed bill making its way through the Florida legislature would make the parents or legal guardians of children who commit crimes legally liable for damages incurred as a result of those crimes. For example, if a teenager commits a robbery his or her parents may be held responsible for paying restitution or replacing what was taken or damaged.

In addition, the bill would also delete some language that lets parents off the hook for a criminal offense by their child. The bill's sponsor hopes that it will motivate parents to be more involved with their children.

This legislation has raised concerns from some lawmakers who believe that parents only have a limited ability to control their children's behavior. "Is there anybody in here who's raised teenagers?" asked one representative who opposes the bill.

Every child makes mistakes now and then. But when one of those mistakes lands a child in the juvenile justice system one of those mistakes can stay with him or her for a lifetime. Young people have an entire future ahead of them - a future full of more mistakes, as well as growth and development. But if a child ends up with a criminal record or time spent in a detention facility, that future can be stunted.

If you have a child who is in trouble and facing juvenile criminal charges it is important to work with someone who is experienced in juvenile criminal matters. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help a child protect his or her future while fighting any charges and working toward the best possible outcome.

Source: WUFT, "Proposed Florida bill to make parents liable for juvenile crime," Shane Chernoff, April 8, 2013

To learn more about criminal defense matters in Florida please visit our website.

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