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What if I am Arrested as a Juvenile

What if I am Arrested as a Juvenile

Being arrested as a juvenile in the state of Florida is frightening for the child as well as their parents. Florida Statute 985.03 (7) defines a juvenile as: “Child” or “juvenile” or “youth” means any person under the age of 18 or any person who is alleged to have committed a violation of law occurring prior to the time that person reached the age of 18 years.

If arrested as a juvenile in Florida, you will generally will be transported to a juvenile assessment center (JAC), for processing. This will involve the juvenile being held in custody at the JAC while law enforcement book them which is the process of collecting informational data on the juvenile, recording their fingerprints, and submitting all to the facility’s intake officer for assessment.

juvenile offender being questioned by a male police

In addition to the facility’s law enforcement staff, the JAC can also be staffed by social workers and mental health professionals tasked with aiding the juvenile’s needs. Being arrested as a juvenile is frightening and being processed through JAC can be intimidating.

Arrested as a Youth – Assessment

Depending on the specific reason for the arrest, the JAC staff will assess the individual to decide how to address punishment and/or rehabilitation. The JAC staff will collect data on the individual to assess for

  • Signs of abuse and neglect on the juvenile
  • Evidence of drug and/or alcohol usage
  • Mental health issues and/or official diagnosis (the individual may be undiagnosed or previously diagnosed with documentation)
  • Social functions, such as the juvenile’s interaction habits at school, at home, or within the community
  • Educational history and status, with a specific focus on current academic standing and any documented cases of educational challenges such as learning disabilities.
  • Any history of service with the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services or the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)
  • Risk patterns, including substance abuse and the possibility of contracting HIV

The JAC compiles all this information so as to better understand what the juvenile needs to do to avoid further involvement with criminal activity. Depending on the crime, a juvenile may be required to get counseling, be on probation or serve detention time.

Release or Detention

Depending on the JAC’s assessment, the juvenile in question may be placed in a juvenile detention facility or released back into the custody of the parents and/or legal guardians. The juvenile detention facility may also be separate from the JAC’s physical location.

The juvenile can be brought to trial for a delinquency petition, where they can enter pleas of Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest. Should the juvenile’s charges involve a trial, they have several rights guaranteeing them:

  • A fair trial.
  • To be represented by an attorney, either at the expense of their parent/guardian or provided by the court.
  • To be present to hear the case against them.
  • To call their own witnesses
  • To remain silent, and not have that silence held against them during the trial. This means the juvenile can elect not to testify and not be punished for choosing to do so by the court.

Home Detention or Diversion

If the juvenile gets released to their parent and/or guardian, they may be placed under home detention or be offered the chance to make use of a pre-trial diversion program, which can allow them to expunge the charge from their record in exchange for participation in a court-approved rehabilitation program that can include community service and continued education.

Home detention operates like a type of house arrest for juvenile offenders, effectively confining them to their home under supervision for a period of time typically shorter than 30 days.

Contact Us Today

Because being arrested as a juvenile can carry serious consequences if convicted, if you have been charged, it’s important to obtain a good criminal defense attorney. At Farkas & Crowley, both Adam R. Farkas and Jacqueline D. Crowley have extensive experience in criminal law and will defend a juvenile accused of a crime rigorously. To find out more, contact our office today or call us 24/7 at (561)-444-9529

Why Choose Us?

Certified by the Florida Bar

Experience in both defense & prosecution

Focus on criminal law

Aggressive, committed attorneys & legal staff ready to defend your rights

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Looking for a criminal law firm? Farkas & Crowley, P.A. are the attorneys for you. They are extremely knowledgeable of the law and go the extra mile for their clients. Their expertise and impeccable work ethic are hard to beat. Available 24/7. Highly recommended.

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Farkas & Crowley, PA

Criminal Defense & Family Law Lawyers