Tampa Juvenile Defense Attorney
The life and emotional state of a child is fragile, which is why any offenses that are committed early in life can lead to a broken future. While adolescents are easily malleable and prone to peer pressure, the court does not take juvenile offenses lightly. We understand that all young people have yet to define themselves, and will fight to keep defendants under the age of 18 out of the adult courts. Most often, the state admits defendants who are under the age of 17 into juvenile court, where the focus is rehabilitation, as opposed to punishment. The mission of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is, “To increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention and treatment services that strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth.” The penalties can still be harsh, however. The court may order home arrest, order that the youth go and live with another relative if they believe that the current living and/or guardian situation is not satisfactory, or the court may decide that juvenile detention is necessary. If your child is convicted of a very serious crime, or has a long history of escalating offenses, the court may even send the child to an adult jail or prison. It is imperative that you and your family do not attempt to navigate the juvenile justice system without the guidance of an incredibly experienced legal team. The smallest flaw in the defense strategy could lead to an unfortunate situation for your child. Our Tampa juvenile defense attorneys at Roman & Roman have experience in the following types of juvenile law:
- Drug offenses;
- Assault and battery;
- Weapons offenses;
- Theft offenses such as burglary and robbery;
- Sex offenses;
- All felonies; and
- All misdemeanors.
When Juveniles are Tried in Adult Court
Juvenile court may employ more lenient measures of deterrence and healing than an adult court, such as counseling, community service, probation, fines, and even verbal warnings. A drug offense that could land an adult in prison for up to five years may only be a small fine and community service for an underage defendant. However, not all underage defendants are tried in juvenile court. Florida statute 985.557 states that any child that was 14 or 15 years of age at the time of the alleged crime can be direct filed into adult court, depending on the type of crime they allegedly committed. These offenses include arson, sexual battery, robbery, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, murder, manslaughter, and many other serious offenses, including discharging a destructive device or “bomb,” even such as a cherry bomb.
If your child is tried in adult court, the penalties at stake are incredibly severe. A young child put in jail or prison with full grown adults would be a truly horrible situation. Contact the Tampa law offices of Roman & Roman today at 877-767-1032. Our experienced Tampa juvenile defense attorneys will begin immediate work on creating a fully comprehensive and aggressive strategy to keep your family safe and intact.