Juveniles are persons under 18 years of age. Criminal defendants who are juveniles are held at a juvenile detention facility. Instead of having a first appearance, juveniles attend a detention hearing where the judge decides whether to release the juvenile from custody. At this time, the juvenile has a right to counsel. A criminal defendant who is a juvenile may still be charged as an adult. The State Attorney has this discretion. He or she usually takes into account the criminal suspect’s prior criminal history, the seriousness of the offense, and the criminal suspect’s age. The defendant has the choice of requesting that he or she be tried as an adult. When tried as a juvenile, the court may release the juvenile from custody through non-secure detention, which requires an interview process and the judge’s discretionary decision for release. Non-secure detention allows a criminal suspect to remain at home instead of in prison while waiting for the trial, which is known as the adjudicatory hearing. A counselor remains in contact with the defendant to make sure that he or she is remaining in the area and staying out of trouble, much like a probation officer. The juvenile goes to the detention hearing and later enters a plea at the arraignment. The juvenile does not have a right to a jury trial, and he or she must have a Juvenile Court Judge decide the outcome of the case. If the judge determines that the juvenile is not guilty, then the juvenile is released and answers no further for the charges. If the judge determines that the juvenile is guilty, the juvenile must attend the dispositional hearing where the judge administers a sentence. The counselor gives a recommendation to the judge, and the judge uses his own discretion in deciding what the sentence will be. The judge will either compel the juvenile to submit to the Department of Juvenile Justice, place the juvenile on probation, or order the juvenile into a community control or community service program. Community control entails community service, working for the victim, and repaying the victim restitution or for any damages the victim has suffered. Failure to follow the rules and orders of the Community Control Program may result in having to reappear before the Juvenile Court Judge, who might decide to place the juvenile into custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Commission to the Department of Juvenile Justice includes being removed from home and being sent to a state training or reform school. A Fort Lauderdale Juvenile Arrest Lawyer may be present to represent the child in Juvenile Court proceedings.
The information on this page does not represent legal advice. Because the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained herein may be out of date. It is always wise to seek counsel from an experienced criminal attorney like Kenneth Hassett.