Every parent knows the teenage years are difficult. Teenagers are in the process of learning how to be mature, responsible adults, but they often make mistakes along the way. They are vulnerable to peer pressure, and when they fall in with the wrong crowd that can sometimes lead to an encounter with the criminal justice system.

Fortunately the State of Florida recognizes treats juvenile offenders differently than adults. The state has a juvenile law system which is focused less on punishment and more on getting a youthful offender back on track. The critical issue for teens charged with a crime, or their parents, is to make sure the young person stays in the juvenile system.

Recently a 16-year-old Fort Lauderdale youth was arrested and charged with burglary. According to the allegations of prosecutors, the teenager has been involved in eight burglaries of residences in Broward County. He was arrested when one alleged victim saw him running toward his car, wearing a mask. The teen had allegedly tried to break through a glass door on the victim’s house. She called police and gave them the license plate number of the car.

In some cases involving juvenile crimes prosecutors will try to have the accused tried as an adult and sentenced within the adult criminal justice system. It is absolutely essential for the defense to fight this move. Under Florida procedure, the court conducts a hearing within 24 hours of the juvenile’s arrest, to decide whether the case should proceed in juvenile or adult court. An experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney will fight to keep the case in juvenile court where it belongs, and where the alleged offender can get the rehabilitation he or she needs.

Source: CBS Miami, “Teen Arrested In Connection To Broward Crime Spree,” Gaby Fleischman, Jan. 21, 2014

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