Defending Your Child Against Criminal Charges in Orlando
Every offense that exists for adults in Florida also exists for juveniles, but the sanctions can be different. In some cases those sanctions can be even more serious than adults would face for the same crime. For example, an adult charged with a third-degree felony faces a maximum of five years of probation or prison. However, a 12-year-old child can be held until his or her 19th birthday for the same offense.
At The Bigney Law Firm in Orlando, Florida, our lawyers are dedicated to protecting your child's future if he or she has been charged with a juvenile offense such as underage drinking, theft, shoplifting, assault, trespassing or other crimes. We offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your child's case and explore defenses.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Juvenile Case?
Many parents don't hire lawyers for juvenile offenses, or they hire a family lawyer such as the attorney who drafted their will. Both can be a serious mistake. The juvenile court system is different from the adult system, and you need an attorney who is familiar with the procedures and sanctions your child will face, as well as possible diversion programs.
A juvenile criminal record is not as private as most people assume it to be. Crimes committed as a juvenile can affect scholarships and grants, as well as which college your child can get into. Having a juvenile record can also result in more serious sanctions for your child if his or her charge is upgraded to adult court. A juvenile charged with a sex crime can be subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender.
While juvenile court doesn't technically have jail as a sanction, your child could be sent to a juvenile detention facility — basically a jail for juveniles — until he or she reaches age 19 and in some cases until 21.
Just because your child is younger than 18, doesn't mean he or she will stay in juvenile court. Your child can be charged as an adult and face adult consequences. It's important to hire a juvenile defense attorney quickly to make sure your child isn't steamrolled by the system.
Will My Child Be Allowed to Come Home?
Your child can be held in secure detention for 21 days in anticipation of trial. There is no bond in juvenile court. Instead, the juvenile justice system uses a risk assessment instrument to determine whether your child can come home or has to stay in detention until trial. Every day, these risk assessments are improperly completed by the Department of Juvenile Justice. As a result of these mistakes, children are kept in custody because nobody checked the accuracy of the risk assessment. Our lawyers have a tremendous amount of experience with the juvenile justice system and are familiar with the scoring system and can ensure your child's risk assessment will be scored correctly, increasing your child's chance of coming home.
Free Case Evaluation
If your child is charged with a juvenile offense, your best defense is to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney at the Bigney Law Firm, call 407-792-2923 any time of the day or night or fill out our contact form. For your convenience, our office is located in downtown Orlando, Florida, just minutes away from the juvenile courthouse. Se habla Español.