A juvenile criminal charge is no small matter. The State of Florida takes an extremely hard line with minors who commit criminal offenses. Local and state police forces have units dedicated to arresting and prosecuting youths that commit the most minor of offenses. Gone are the days where kids are simply returned to the parents for discipline.
If your child is arrested as a juvenile on any charge, especially a felony, the consequences could follow him or her for a lifetime. In my 16 plus years as a Sarasota juvenile crime lawyer, I've seen parents and judges allow children to plea to serious felony charges without representation. Although your child is not convicted of a crime in the same manner as an adult, the consequences could include the following:
- Probation until his or her 19th birthday
- Expulsion from school
- Loss of driving privilege
- Fines, restitution and costs of investigation that could extend to parents
- Forfeiture of many scholarships and financial aid
- Difficulty in gaining admittance to college
- Barrier to military service
- Possible prison as an adult if convicted of a felony
In a growing number of cases juvenile sanctions have even been used as the basis of racketeering (RICO) and organized crime prosecutions. Juveniles charged with RICO are often prosecuted as adults. Special Statewide Prosecutors are called in to try the case. If convicted your child could be facing 30 years in prison.
Need a Juvenile Crime Attorney in Sarasota?
Get legal representation for your child. Just because he or she is under 18 that does not mean they do not have the same Constitutional rights to remain silent, right to a lawyer and right to confront witnesses as an adult. It is important that parents understand that while juvenile charges do not involve prison time, they can have serious long term consequences for a child.
If your child has been arrested, call my office for experienced criminal defense representation in juvenile matters and a free case evaluation to discuss the situation. The State takes these crimes seriously and so should you! I stand ready to protect your child's rights and their future.