JUVENILE CHARGES & CRIMES
If your child has been accused of a criminal offense in the state of Florida it is important to speak with an experienced attorney immediately to discuss the decisions that need to be made to protect your child and your child’s future. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Brooks, LeBoeuf, Bennett, Foster & Gwartney, P.A. are dedicated to protecting the rights of any juvenile who has been charged with a criminal offense in the state of Florida. As parents, we understand the anxiety involved when children experience trouble with the law. We are also aware of the consequences a juvenile record or possible incarceration could have on your child’s future.
Even for minor offenses, after a child is arrested, parents are faced with the questions such as whether they should immediately waive the child’s right to speedy trial to allow their child to enter into a diversion program, such as Teen Court or Juvenile Drug Court. Before committing your child to a specific course of action, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. In many cases, defenses are available that can allow your child’s charges to be reduced or for the State to drop the charges all together.
Accusations against a juvenile can result in a juvenile delinquency record. Protecting a child’s future is crucial. If a child is found delinquent of a crime, the Court has the ability to impose sanctions that are similar to those in adult court. A child could be sanctioned to pay fines, be placed on probation, ordered to pay restitution, complete community service hours, undergo random drug testing, or possible be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for a period of time.
With the assistance of an experienced attorney and the involvement of the parents and family of the child, a resolution can often be negotiated with the State and the Court. More often than not, the Court will require that the child be enrolled in school on a full-time basis while their case is pending. It is important that you be sure your child attends school every day, unless otherwise ordered. Additionally, if multiple juvenile defendants are involved, the Court may require that your child stay away from the individuals who were involved in the situation at hand. Parental involvement in the negotiation process is extremely important and can show the Court the stability and support provided to your child on a regular basis. This can help us obtain the best possible outcome in your child’s case.
If your child has been charged with a criminal offense within the Juvenile Justice Court System, contact the lawyers at Brooks, LeBoeuf, Bennett, Foster & Gwartney, P.A. immediately to schedule your free consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys are trained to evaluate each individual situation to determine the best possible solution in a case. Our attorneys will assist you in obtaining the best outcome of any case.
You have TOO MUCH AT STAKE not to protect your legal rights.
The Teen Court Program in Leon County is a diversionary program for juveniles who have been arrested, admitted their guilt to the crime or entered a plea of No Contest, and have been recommended by the court to participate in the Teen Court Program. This program diverts a child’s case from the Court system and upon successful completion the juvenile will not havea conviction on their permanent record.
Teen Court is a program in which a juvenile will actively participate in an actual sentencing hearing for first-time juvenile offenders who have received misdemeanor or felony charges in Leon County, Florida. The sentencing hearings are conducted by teens who act as attorneys, bailiffs, and jurors. The hearings are overseen by an acting “judge” who is a board certified attorney or an actual judge of the Second Judicial Circuit. There are also adults who volunteer and supervise all proceedings. Individuals who agree to participate in the Teen Court Program agree to be sentenced by a jury of their peers instead of being processed through the Leon County Juvenile Court System. All sanctions decided by the jury of peers are binding and will be upheld by the Court.
There are four phases to the Teen Court Program:
The referral phase when the Judge or another authority, such as the State Attorney, recommends that a case be transferred to the Teen Court Program. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Brooks, LeBoeuf, Bennett, Foster & Gwartney, P.A. can assist you in being referred to the Teen Court program as they have many years experience in negotiating with the State and Courts to obtain such referrals. After a case has been referred to the Teen Court Program, the Hearing and Sentencing phase begins.
Hearing & Sentence
Once a case is referred to Teen Court, a hearing date and time will be set by the Court. During the scheduled hearing, a jury of peers will review the recommended sanctions as well as the facts of the case and will determine the sanctions to be imposed. All sanctions and sentences will be reviewed by the referring entity to ensure they meet with the pre-determined sentencing guidelines.
The juvenile’s sentence will be determined on the night of the hearing. Once a sentence is imposed, the juvenile can start completing the sanctioned requirements, which may include completing community service hours or educational programs, writing letters of apology, or other court-approved sanctions. Juveniles will be given a completion date to have all sanctions completed.
Completion of Sentence
The requirements of completing a sentence rendered by the jury of peers will depend on what sanctions were ordered. A juvenile who is ordered to complete any sanctions will be responsible for reporting their completion to their assigned case coordinator by the previously set completion date. If community service hours are required, the case coordinator will provide the child with a list of approved community service options.
After all required sanctions have been completed, the case will be reviewed by Teen Court staff to determine if the juvenile successfully completed the Teen Court Program. The Teen Court staff will then send a report to the referring entity stating whether or not the program was successfully completed. If the program was completed in its entirety, the recommendation will be that the case be dismissed in its entirety by the referring entity. If the program was not successfully completed, the case will be referred to the State Attorney’s Office where further prosecution may be pursued within the court system.
The Teen Court Program serves as an educational tool and fosters an environment of responsibility. Most of all, Teen Court allows children to avoid convictions on their records, while still taking responsibility for the actions.
If your child has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense within the Juvenile Justice Court System, contact the lawyers at Brooks, LeBoeuf, Bennett, Foster & Gwartney, P.A. to schedule your free consultation. Our criminal defense attorneys are trained to evaluate each individual situation to determine the best possible solution in a case. Our attorneys will help you determine whether or not Teen Court is available to your child and assist you in obtaining the best outcome of any case.
You have TOO MUCH AT STAKE not to protect your legal rights.