When youths are charged with a crime, they will have to navigate the Juvenile Justice System, with the exception of repeat offenders, who may be transferred directly to the adult system. No matter the situation, however, it is critical to protect your child’s rights by retaining the team of Goldman Wetzel juvenile defense attorneys in St. Petersburg.
It is especially important to have an advocate on your side when formal charges are filed and your child’s record and future are at stake.
Types of Juvenile Cases
The state of Florida does not use the term “crime” with juveniles. Rather, it refers to the wrongdoings as “delinquent acts.” Juveniles can be charged with almost any crime that might pertain to an adult. Some of the most common types of delinquent acts of which youth are accused include:
- bullying or cyber bullying,
- fake IDs,
- possession of drugs,
- underage drinking,
- traffic infractions,
- gang activity,
- possessing an illegal weapon,
- burglary, and
- sexual assault, date rape and other sex crimes.
What to Expect from the Juvenile Justice System in St. Petersburg or Tampa
Below is a brief overview of what transpires when youths are charged with crimes in Florida.
- The youth comes into contact with law enforcement for the alleged delinquent act.
- He or she is taken into custody and referred to a local juvenile assessment center.
- The child is given an assessment to determine where he or she should be placed while awaiting a hearing. Possibilities include secure, non-secure or home detention center, and pre-trial diversion programs may be recommended.
- There will be an arraignment hearing in which a plea is entered, and a discovery process for gathering evidence will begin.
- We will fight for the best resolution for your child’s juvenile case. Possible outcomes include dismissal of the charges by entering into a “Walker Plan,” participation in a rehabilitation program (Youth-Empowered Success (YES) Plan), juvenile drug court, and more.
My child might be guilty. Should I still hire a juvenile defense attorney?
If you think your child may have been involved in a delinquent activity, it is still in your child’s best interest to retain a lawyer. A lawyer can fight to have the charges dropped or penalties reduced and protect your child’s record. When you work with Goldman Wetzel, our lawyers will ensure your child’s rights are upheld and present options to the court that focus on rehabilitation, rather than detention.
Furthermore, it can be unnerving (and downright frightening) for youth and their parents when navigating the criminal justice system and facing harsh penalties. Having Goldman Wetzel on your side can help you rest more easily. You will be kept informed, know exactly what to expect each step of the way, and be afforded the opportunity to take an active role in protecting your child’s future.
Call to Schedule a Free Legal Consultation
Whether the charge your child faces is a misdemeanor or a felony, you can count on Goldman Wetzel for defense counsel. For a free consultation with a youth defense attorney in Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Bradenton, contact our office today at 727-828-3900.