Put a Compassionate Advocate and Former Public Defender on Your Side
Has your child been charged with a crime? Are you facing criminal consequences as a juvenile? Florida tries juvenile crimes in separate courts, but sometimes these cases may end up in adult court. Prya Murad Law is led by a former public defender who knows how the juvenile justice system works; we aim to provide compassionate legal support informed by years of experience as a public defender. While a standard defense attorney might be able to help you come up with a textbook defense strategy, we can help you develop a more unique legal plan based on how we understand Florida’s juvenile justice system works from the inside.
Schedule a consultation with Prya Murad Law for more information about how we might help you navigate your Miami juvenile defense.
Common Juvenile Offenses
Young people make mistakes. Sometimes, they’re serious mistakes. Often, though, they’re harmless mistakes that carry harsh consequences. Some common juvenile crimes include:
- Larceny (stealing)
- Illegal purchase of cigarettes or alcohol
- Violent crimes (assault, robbery)
- Sexual offenses
Note that juvenile crimes, often misdemeanors, are generally not punished in the same way as adult offenses. The focus of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. So, convicted juveniles may receive alternative punishments to incarceration in a juvenile detention center, such as:
- community service;
- educational courses;
- rehabilitation courses;
- payments of fines; or
Nonetheless, while juveniles are tried in juvenile court, some crimes may amount to charges handled in adult court. This will depend on the nature of the crime, though, and the juvenile’s age during the course of the case.
The age of a young person (juvenile) who comes within the jurisdiction of Florida’s juvenile courts is defined by state law. The youngest age at which a youth can be adjudicated delinquent is not specified by any statute, but the juvenile court has jurisdiction over offenses allegedly committed prior to a youth’s 18th birthday; after they turn 18 years old, the youth may be charged in adult court.
In most circumstances, juvenile court retains jurisdiction over youth until age 19. Additionally, the court may retain jurisdiction over a youth who is ordered to pay restitution until that restitution order has been satisfied. In special situations, depending on the offense and the reason for commitment, the juvenile court may retain jurisdiction over the youth until they turn 21 years old.
Youth in Adult Court
As discussed above, some youth may be tried as adults. The circumstances for such an outcome will depend, but Florida generally has 4 ways that juveniles can be prosecuted as adults:
- Statutory Exclusion: If a youth is 16 years or older, has allegedly committed certain offenses, and has been previously adjudicated delinquent for a felony, the state attorney is required to file the charges in adult court.
- Prosecutorial Discretion: If a youth 14 years or older has allegedly committed a statutorily delineated offense, the state attorney may file charges directly in adult court.
- Discretionary Judicial Transfer: The prosecutor may request the court to transfer any child 14 years or older to adult court, and the court must grant the transfer if it satisfies the offense and history criteria.
- Once an Adult, Always an Adult: A youth who is transferred or directly filed to adult court and found guilty of the offense or lesser included offense is thereafter to be tried as an adult, unless given a juvenile sanction.
The juvenile justice system can be confusing to navigate, especially when there are a variety of alternatives available depending on the situation. If your child has been charged with a crime as a juvenile, reach out to Prya Murad Law for legal guidance. We can help you navigate juvenile court and, in more serious cases, adult court for youths.
Schedule an initial consultation with Prya Murad Law online to discuss your legal options in more detail.