Think about the time you were a teenager. When you are in your teens you do not have a care or worry in the world. You are free from career and financial responsibilities. Even serious education and getting degrees is not a serious priority.
In many instances, this makes youngsters commit mistakes. Some of these mistakes are serious and invite criminal charges. As youngsters do not think about the real-world consequences of making them and are not mature enough to understand the implications, they think they can get away with a lot.
Unfortunately, when they end up with a crime, it can have a serious impact on their entire adult life. From affecting employment opportunities to getting finance (loans), crimes can cost young people dearly when they turn adults.
In this article, we speak to a leading criminal defense attorney in Tampa. We ask him to shed some light on how juvenile criminal defense works.
List of Important Things you need to know about Juvenile Criminal Cases-
- Rehabilitation rather than Punishment-
When a juvenile commits a crime, the focus of the justice and judicial systems is on rehabilitation rather than punishment. However, this depends on whether the juvenile was a first-time offender or a repeat one. In such cases, the courts can take a different view.
While the justice system is geared in a way to help the juvenile, it should be pointed out that not all decisions can end up in the interests of the same. A good lawyer needs to be present to help and aid the juvenile and his or her family in this regard in the lawsuit.
- Cases are tried in Civil Courts and not Criminal Ones-
Unless the juvenile has committed a heinous crime like taking someone’s life, he or she is tried in a civil court. This is something that most states in the American Union adhere to including the state of Florida. Trying a juvenile in a Civil Court is what most judges prefer as well.
If the prosecutor is pushing for the case to be heard in a criminal court, your legal attorney should counter it and push it for a civil trial. When e juvenile criminal case goes to a criminal court you can expect far greater punishment and conviction for the same.
- There are Three Outcomes of a Juvenile Criminal Lawsuit-
Every time a juvenile case is heard in a court of law, there are three likely outcomes you can expect. According to leading legal experts, if the case is not serious and the offense is a first one, then the prosecutor decides not to pursue it and the juvenile is let off with a warning.
In the second instance, if there is no sufficient evidence for judgment, the juvenile is handed over to a Probationary Officer. This government official helps in creating a recovery plan known as YES or Youth Empowered Success. Lastly, if there is a definite conviction, the juvenile can be sent to a correction home, or be asked to do community service.
- Situations where Juveniles can be Tried as Adult Citizens-
If the normal criminal activity is one that would be subjected to life imprisonment or death, then there is a case for the juvenile to be tried as an adult in a court of law. What is more interesting is the fact that in such situations, the convictions can also be the same.
We have already mentioned that if the juvenile criminal lawsuit is tried in a criminal court, then the scale of penalty is likely to be very high. For example, a juvenile might be asked to stay in a correction home till he completes 18 years of age and then be shifted to a jail cell.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to juvenile criminal lawsuits, a lot depends on the expertise of the legal attorney representing the juvenile. Prior records can also go a long way in showing that the one-time crime was a mistake that can be overcome with counseling and some light community service. Either way, you need to find the best lawyer to help you fight a juvenile criminal lawsuit.