Understand the process after a juvenile is arrested in Florida
After a child is arrested for a juvenile offense under Florida law, the child will most likely go to the juvenile detention center (probation and community corrections intake services) in the particular county in which you live where the juvenile will be assessed by Department of Juvenile Justice officials. The child will either be released directly to the parents, or the juvenile can be detained until the child sees the Juvenile Court Judge for a detention hearing (called First Appearance) which are usually held at 8 a.m., seven days a week in Pinellas County, Florida.
Know the potential outcomes in a Florida juvenile court case
The Juvenile system focuses more on intervention, rehabilitation and prevention, while the focus of the adult system is punishment and prevention.
Department of Juvenile Justice officials may utilize one of three options to deal with a Juvenile offense:
a) Non Judicial Diversions: These programs vary by circuit but can include Juvenile arbitration programs where a contract is signed with the Department of Juvenile Justice to fulfill a set of conditions which if successfully completed results in no formal charges ever being filed in court.
b) Judicial Dispositions: In this case the Juvenile's outcome is decided by a Judge in the Juvenile Division. Here punishments can include Court ordered diversion programs (programs vary by circuit such as the Walker Plan in Pinellas County); Probation (community supervision); or Residential Commitment (placement in a residential facility) or Conditional Release (community supervision / aftercare).
c) Detention Services
Hire an experienced St. Petersburg Juvenile Defense Attorney to defend your child's rights
Hire an experienced St. Petersburg Juvenile Defense Attorney who has specific knowledge and experience in representing children and young adults in juvenile court in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida. A former assistant state attorney may be a particularly good choice because former state prosecutors often have experience prosecuting a broad range of very serious juvenile crimes from investigation through trial. Many former assistant state attorney's in Clearwater, Pinellas County, FL, have received special training on prosecuting juvenile crimes from the State of Florida. For a St. Petersburg juvenile defense lawyer this inside knowledge is of critical importance and may benefit the defense of your child's case.
Additional resources provided by the author
Visit the links below for more information from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. The second link is for a criminal defense attorney who represents juveniles charged with criminal offenses in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida.
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