If your child under the age of 18 has been arrested for a crime, you need the assistance of a West Palm Beach juvenile attorney. The juvenile system is different than the system faced by adults who are charged with crimes and you need to be sure your child’s advocate is experienced in this area of law. The goal of the juvenile system is rehabilitation with the focus on getting young people to change their behavior so they can enter society as good adult citizens.

If your child is arrested, do not allow him or her to speak to anyone or give a written statement without an attorney being present. Juveniles have some of the same constitutional rights as adults have, including the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

How the Florida juvenile justice system works

After an arrest, or before an arrest if law enforcement suspects a crime has been committed, investigation continues. Law enforcement then presents a complaint, sworn to under oath, to the State Attorney’s Office who decides whether or not to file charges. If charges are filed and the juvenile is arrested, a detention hearing must be held within 24 hours. The judge may release the juvenile into the custody of the parents or order the juvenile to be detained for up to 21 days.

During that time, the State Attorney will decide whether to file a petition and prosecute the case. In some situations, a case may be “Direct Filed” which means the juvenile is charged as an adult and the case will proceed in the adult system. The juvenile will no longer have the protection of the juvenile justice system.

Louise Jones P.A. a West Palm Beach juvenile attorney can help

Your child’s life and future are at stake. Depending on the nature of the charges, pre-trial diversion programs are available to many first time offenders. If proceeding to trial is the best option, Louise Jones P.A. has been practicing criminal defense for more than 25 years and has the experience you need to have in an advocate for your child.

A zealous advocate knowledgeable in the nuances of the juvenile justice system can make the difference in the charges against your child being dropped, your child being able to participate in diversion, receiving probation or being detained in a juvenile facility for the remainder of their youth. Juveniles do not have the right to a jury trial and the cases are presented to a judge who decides whether the juvenile is guilty or not. You need a zealous advocate like Louise Jones standing beside your child during this difficult time.

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