Juvenile law is centered on those who are not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts. On the federal level and in most states, the age threshold is 18 years. But, Florida law allows juveniles to be charged as adults by grand jury indictment. The Juvenile Division is responsible for the prosecution of all juvenile felony and misdemeanor offenses. Whether charged with a misdemeanor or felony, it’s critical for juveniles to be represented by experienced attorneys like Joel A. Spector.
The Process: Attorney Joel A. Spector
After a police officer takes a juvenile into custody for a criminal offense, the juvenile may be released to the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) or to the parent or guardian. Juveniles who are taken to the JAC are screened to determine whether they should be held in secure detention or placed on house arrest. Juveniles who are held in secure detention or placed on house arrest have a detention hearing the following day. The intention of this hearing is for the court to determine the existence of probable cause and the need for continued education. At arraignment, the court asks whether the juvenile pleads guilty or not guilty to the charges, and then determines whether the juvenile is entitled to a court appointed attorney or must hire their own lawyer.
If a guilty plea is entered, the case is set for a disposition hearing. If a not guilty plea is entered, the case is scheduled for an adjudicatory hearing. Juvenile trials are all non-jury, and it’s a judge who decides the case. The state will call witnesses and introduce evidence. The standard of proof required for the court to find the juvenile guilty of a delinquent act is beyond a reasonable doubt.
Why Hire an Attorney: The Law Office of Joel A. Spector
Just because the criminal justice system is more lenient with juvenile offenses doesn’t mean one should risk appearing in court without a lawyer. The penalties for juvenile offenses can affect one’s life for years. The Law Office of Joel A. Spector believes in upholding the rights of juveniles and will stop at nothing to ensure that their juvenile clients are treated fairly and receive the best possible case outcome.