As a parent or guardian, getting a call from the police that one’s child has been taken into custody for committing a crime can bring up a lot of emotions. For those who are unfamiliar with the Florida juvenile justice system, the fear of the unknown can be particularly overwhelming. If a child has been arrested, here is what parents or guardians can expect to occur in the coming days, weeks or months.
Depending on the crime the child is accused of committing, he or she may be issued a civil citation or kept in custody until it is decided what course of action should be taken in his or her case. Some children will have their cases moved to the adult court system, or they may qualify for a diversion program. If neither of these fit the child’s situation, an assessment will be completed by detention center screening staff to decide if the minor can be released to go home for the time being or if he or she should be held until the case goes to court. The Florida State Attorney will get to determine if detention is warranted before the hearing.
If the case remains in the , a judge will be the only one to hear it and ultimately decide what will happen to the child. There are three ways juvenile cases end. First, the charges may be dropped and the case dismissed. Second, the minor may be found guilty and remanded to a residential center. Finally, third, the child may be found guilty but the verdict withheld.
If adjudicated, regardless if the verdict is withheld, a rehabilitation plan will be created. This plan is something that must be followed during probation. As soon as probation ends, the child will be released and the case will come to a close.
When put down in writing, it all seems pretty straightforward. However, nothing about the criminal system, including the juvenile justice system, is really straightforward. This is why having an attorney with experiencing handling juvenile cases on one’s side after one’s child has been may prove highly beneficial. Legal counsel can answer any questions one might have and will work diligently to achieve an outcome that best benefits the child’s interests.