As adolescents blossom it’s natural to expect that they will make mistakes that can possibly have negative consequences; however when these mistakes extend to criminal matters, a minor’s bright future can take a turn for the worst. These days, a typical school yard fight can lead to an arrest for assault and battery. What was once corrected with a trip to the principal’s office and a handshake can now tarnish a child’s reputation, preventing him from attending the university of his choice or the career of his dreams.
These days, many actions that define childhood misbehavior are treated as crimes by law enforcement, which is why it is so important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who handles juvenile matters. In Florida, these are the top 10 most common juvenile offenses.
Assault and Battery
Assault and battery are two separate charges, however, they often occur at the same time. Assault is the verbal or physical threat of harm and the apparent ability to carry out the threat, which, by some action, creates a well-founded fear in the recipient. Battery is the actual physical act of harm. Battery includes physical, intentional touching or striking of another person against his or her will.
Burglary is a serious felony offense in Florida that can cause significant damage to a minor’s reputation if a law enforcement officer places him under arrest and files charges. Burglary is one of the most serious theft crimes and can also be referred to as breaking and entering. It takes place when a person enters a home uninvited with the intent to commit a crime.
Petit larceny or petit theft is theft of property or money valued at less than $300. It is a misdemeanor offense that can lead to jail time, steep fines and other hardships. Teens and preteens may be more susceptible to stealing small, less valuable items from stores or the homes of others. Although your teen may have taken something insignificant without thinking of the consequences, it is still a criminal offense that stands to hinder their prospects. Although not as serious as burglary, minors accused of petit theft or other theft crime should retain competent legal representation.
Misdemeanor Drug Offenses
Unfortunately, kids get into drugs pretty early these days. Misdemeanor drug offenses often involve marijuana and can even involve alcohol as people under 21 cannot legally drink or possess alcohol. Misdemeanor marijuana offenses like possessing under 20 grams of marijuana for personal use is a small offense that may bring drastic consequences. If your teen is lucky, he or she may receive a citation for the offense or be eligible for a diversion program to avoid a criminal record. Talk to an attorney about your child’s options at this time.
Charges of grand theft or grand larceny in Florida should sound an alarm. The state of Florida has a very low threshold for grand theft — all it takes is $300 to get slapped with felony theft charges. Whether your teen allegedly stole $300 or an item worth $300 or a few items that collectively are valued at $300, he or she needs an attorney on his or her side to help him or her avoid the worst penalties.
Finding a Lawyer in West Palm Beach
Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has defended adults and juveniles accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses in West Palm Beach throughout his entire 25-year career. He looks forward to answering your questions and coming up with the strongest possible defense for your child so that he may retain the opportunity for a fulfilling life. Call 561-622-5575 or contact us online.