Juvenile Defense Attorney
Usually when someone under the age of 18 is charged with a crime in Florida, the Juvenile Justice System handles the case. These courts are different from the adult Criminal Justice System because the focus is rehabilitation, not punishment. In rare cases, a juvenile case is Direct Filed to the adult court system, usually when a repeat juvenile offender has committed a serious crime.
Whatever the case for your child, it is best to hire a qualified Florida juvenile defense lawyer to help you through the process. The sooner you get help, the better. The Juvenile Justice System works differently and tends to work faster than the adult Criminal Justice System. Here’s what you can expect from the process.
After Arrest in Florida
The law enforcement officer who arrested your child will take him or her to a Juvenile Assessment Center. There, a Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) counselor will prepare a risk assessment report to decide whether or not your child meets the criteria for secure detention. If not, your child may be released into your care for non-secure detention and will receive daily supervision from a FDJJ counselor. If your child breaks any of the rules of non-secure detention, then he or she may be put into the detention center.
The Detention Hearing
A detention hearing is required to be held within 24 hours of arrest if your child is held overnight. At this hearing, a judge will determine what conditions must be met in order to release your child, or the judge will decide that your child must remain in the juvenile detention center for up to 20 days.
Before the next court date, the Florida State Attorney will review the case, and if there is enough evidence, he or she will file a petition describing the charges.
Arraignment usually occurs around 3 weeks after your child’s arrest. In this hearing, your child will be informed of the charges filed against him or her and then be asked to enter a plea, such as Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest.
During the next stage, the attorneys will subpoena witnesses to give sworn statements under oath, and the State Attorney will provide the defense with any evidence they have, such as reports, documents, or recordings.
Pretrial Diversion Programs
In many cases, the State will drop the charges if the child agrees to complete a diversion program, which can include community service, counseling, restitution, and a letter of apology. If your child opts for this and then does not successfully complete the requirements, the charges are reactivated.
The Plea Negotiations
If your child has pleaded Not Guilty, he or she can change the plea to Guilty or No Contest in order to skip trial and go directly to sentencing. This is usually done in an effort to reduce the penalties your child will face.
If your child did not opt for a diversion program or take a plea, then the case proceeds to trial. There is no jury. Instead a Judge will announce the verdict after evidence has been shown and witnesses have testified and been cross-examined by your Florida criminal defense lawyer. If your child is found guilty, the Judge may ask the FDJJ to recommend sanctions in a pre-disposition report. This report gathers information on the child’s background, criminal history, and family circumstances to help the Judge make a decision on sentencing.
The Dispositional Hearing
This is a sentencing hearing where you will learn what penalties your child will face, such as:
This usually also include community service hour requirements, counseling, classes, or a letter of apology.
There are four difference levels:
- Low Risk Programs: 30 – 45 Days,
- Moderate Risk Programs: 4 – 6 Months
- High Risk Programs: 6 – 9 Months
- Juvenile Prison: 18 – 36 Months
Contrary to popular belief, a juvenile case is accessible during background checks and criminal records searches, and juvenile records are not expunged or deleted upon a child’s 18th birthday. Rather, the record is readily available to the State should the individual find himself in trouble with crime as an adult.
If your child has been arrested, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced Orlando juvenile defense attorney to protect your child’s rights in court. A juvenile offense is a serious matter with consequences that can affect your child’s future.
I was at The Ladan Law Firm’s Baby DJ toy drive last night, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with the entire staff. They were all very fun people to talk to, and they really cared about the people that they have helped. I’m really grateful to get the opportunity to meet Amir Ladan and the rest of the team, and if I’m ever in need of an Orlando DUI lawyer, I’ll know who to call.
I have known Amir Ladan for several years. His integrity and desire to provide extremely personalized service has earned him a rank amongst only a few criminal defense attorneys in the greater Orlando area I would trust to handle my case. If you ever find yourself in need of an extremely knowledgeable criminal attorney, look no further. I highly recommend him.
Amir is a very experienced lawyer who knows what he is talking about. He will go above and beyond to make sure you get the best possible representation. I was referred to him by a family friend and I really felt like he genuinely cared about me, and my case.
Great lawyer, would highly recommend. Very prompt with responses, shows knowledge of the law, and really works to try to get the best results for you. Worth every penny. If you have a situation that needs to be taken care of you better hire this guy. He will get the job done.
The Ladan Law Firm was very helpful to me in obtaining a successful conclusion to my legal matters. I would recommend this attorney to anyone that finds themselves in need of legal representation.
Amir is a very knowledgable and passionate attorney. He and his incredibly helpful and gracious staff treated my case with the utmost care. Although I hope to never have to utilize his services again, he will be my first resource as well as recommendation for anyone else.
I was recently in need of the best quality attorney available, and was referred to The Ladan Law Firm. The entire staff was very knowledgeable and personable, and made me feel that I had made the best choice possible. Mr. Ladan took the time on more than one occasion to explain the process ahead, and ease my mind by answering in depth the many questions I had. I highly recommend The Ladan Law Firm!
Amir is the perfect balance of personal and professional. He answered all of my questions and made sure I fully understood the possible outcomes. I would recommend him to anyone.
5 stars won’t be enough to describe attorney Amir, very smart knowledgeable knows how to defend & fight. Surprised me with his strong personality and flexibility inside the court room. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for an attorney. Satisfaction guaranteed.