Tampa Juvenile Delinquency Attorney
Minor children, just like adults, can find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time or they may simply make a mistake and be charged with a criminal offense. If your child has been criminally charged, you are likely very worried about what will happen next and how the charges will affect your child’s future.
In the majority of cases, children who are under the age of 18 are considered juveniles and so, they are processed under the juvenile justice system. As with all laws, though, there are exceptions and there are times when children are tried as adults. Below, our Tampa juvenile delinquency attorney explains more.
The Juvenile Justice System in Florida
Most children under the age of 18 years old are tried in the juvenile justice system after they have been charged with a criminal offense. When a juvenile must be held in a correctional facility, the facility must be solely for minors and it must also be completely separate from adult facilities. Still, there are times when a child could be tried as an adult. These instances include:
- When the child is accused of a serious violent crime such as aggravated assault or murder,
- When the child is accused of a sex crime such as sexual battery,
- When the child has a history of criminal offenses and the juvenile justice system has not provided rehabilitation, or
- When the child has been previously tried as an adult.
For juveniles, being tried as an adult means just that. The minor will appear in the same courts as adults and neither the judge nor the jury will consider their age when making decisions about guilt or sentencing. This also means that when a child is tried as an adult, they face the same harsh sentences if they are convicted of a crime.
Determining if a Minor Should Be Tried as an Adult
In the majority of cases, it is typically the prosecution who determines if a juvenile should be tried as an adult. If the alleged crime is a federal offense and a grand jury convenes, the federal prosecution can pursue an indictment against a minor. Indictments do not have a minimum age limit but only the most serious offense, such as those that carry penalties of death or life imprisonment, go through this process.
When a child has been charged with a state crime, the prosecution can submit a waiver. The waiver requests the judge to transfer the juvenile case to the adult system. Before making their decision, the judge will consider the nature and severity of the crime, the child’s criminal history, and the chance of rehabilitation.
Juveniles can also be sent to the adult system through a direct file. A direct file is appropriate when a minor is at least 16 years old and has been accused of an offense so serious in nature that they are automatically transferred to the adult system.
Our Juvenile Delinquency Attorney in Tampa Can Help Your Family
If your child has been accused of a crime, you need sound legal advice from a Tampa juvenile delinquency attorney. At HD Law Partners, our Tampa juvenile delinquency attorney can advise you of your legal options and give your family the best chance of a positive outcome. Call or text us now at 813-964-7878 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.