Juvenile Defense Archives

Shoplifting in Florida can cause serious criminal consequences

Theft can be a very serious crime, depending on the value of the allegedly stolen items. Florida has a lot of laws on the books that deal with theft, and shoplifting is covered by specific laws targeting retail theft. Generally speaking, the charges a person will face after shoplifting will vary, depending on the amount of merchandise and whether that person has a previous criminal record involving theft or shoplifting.

Your teen facing criminal charges needs a defense attorney

Maybe it was a prank that resulted in trespassing or property damage charges. Maybe it was a high school fight that resulted in injuries and then criminal charges. Maybe it was a youthful mistake involving drugs or alcohol at a party. Whatever the reason, when your teenager is facing criminal charges in Florida, you need to take it seriously.

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.

What is the Difference Between a Juvenile Defendant and a Youthful Offender?

A juvenile defendant is an individual, under the age of 18, who is facing charges within the juvenile justice system. Unlike the criminal justice system (i.e. adult court), the juvenile justice system is geared towards rehabilitation rather than punishment. Thus, the detention or incarceration of a juvenile defendant is considered a last resort. Juvenile defendants are not tried by a jury. Instead, they are tried by a judge. If convicted, a juvenile defendant is adjudicated delinquent rather than guilty. Juvenile case files are not open to the general public for review and records are often automatically expunged later in life. Clearly, for the reasons stated above, it is a lot better for an underage defendant to be tried within the juvenile justice system rather than the criminal justice system; however, that being said, juvenile defendants are still entitled to be represented by an attorney for several important reasons. First and foremost, just like a defendant in the adult system, a juvenile defendant has legal and constitutional rights that need to be protected. Additionally, juvenile charges can carry negative consequences in the future. For example, a juvenile charge can enhance the sentence of a subsequent juvenile charge or even an adult charge later in life. Also, a juvenile charge can prohibit enlistment in the armed forces.

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