Juvenile Related Offenses
Defending Juveniles throughout Florida including West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens
A child’s arrest and charge of a juvenile criminal offense is a stressful time for any family. Initially, the State Attorney’s Office must review the facts and circumstances of the allegations of criminal conduct and determine whether the child should be prosecuted in juvenile court or prosecuted as an adult. While all juveniles are classified as minors, not all minors will be treated as juveniles by the courts. Considering the main goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation rather than punishment, it is crucial to attempt to keep any juvenile client from facing the possibility of being transferred to the adult court system.
Common Juvenile Offenses in West Palm Beach
Many juveniles wind up on the wrong side of the law for status offenses or misdemeanor crimes. They may catch the attention of law enforcement for actions that would not even be considered crimes if they were adults. Among the most common offenses juveniles in West Palm Beach and throughout South Florida commit are:
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- Underage DUI
- Sex offenses
- Using a fake I.D.
- Reckless driving
- Marijuana possession
Juveniles Tried as Adults
Florida leads the nation in trying juvenile offenders as adults. Through a process called direct file, prosecutors decide which individuals under 18 should be transferred to the adult court system with no input from a judge. This results in many instances of juveniles entering a hostile court system which seeks to punish them for their offenses, rather than work with them to become productive members of society.
Often, prosecutors transfer juvenile felony cases to the adult court system where they are tried and sentenced as adults if they are found guilty by a jury of their peers or if they enter a guilty plea as part of a plea bargain. Individuals under 18 who have felony charges against them should immediately seek the aid of a criminal defense lawyer in West Palm Beach who has experience protecting the rights of juveniles. An attorney may be able to reduce the charges against a juvenile felony offender so that he or she may be enrolled in a diversion program.
Juvenile Court Procedures
After being taken into custody, it is possible for a juvenile client to avoid the courts by being placed in a diversion program, or a Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI). Eligibility for this program is again determined by the seriousness of the crime in question. Juvenile courts have their own individualized procedures. A possible punishment for conviction of a juvenile offense can be placement in a juvenile justice residential program, probation and/or house arrest. If the youth is placed in a residential program, the youth will remain in the care of the residential facility for up to 90 days if he or she is considered low risk or up to 36 months if considered maximum risk. This firm has litigated thousands of criminal defense cases and is skilled in the representation of juvenile clients and their families.
Juvenile Criminal Defense in West Palm Beach
Attorney Brian Gabriel is well acquainted with the rules, procedures, and individual prosecutors and judges who handle these cases and will work diligently to resolve any charges. This firm attempts to gather all information associated with a case to develop a complete understanding of the reasons why the juvenile client now finds himself involved in the criminal justice system. Mr. Gabriel assists families by providing legal counsel and recommendations for professional help when necessary. If you have any questions regarding juvenile offenses and/or any other criminal defense litigation, do not hesitate to contact The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at 561-622-5575 for a free consultation.