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Parental responsibility for juvenile crimes

When a minor who is under the age of 18 commits a crime in Florida, his or her parents or legal guardians may also be held responsible for the crime. The court may impose various penalties onto the parents of a juvenile for the crimes they commit, in addition to the penalties imposed directly onto the juvenile.

A parent can potentially face consequences for a wide variety of juvenile crimes their children may commit. Technology related crimes, such as sexting, cyberbullying and distribution of pornography are among the more common such crimes they are responsible for. Parents may also be liable for allowing their children to engage in any delinquent behaviors or for allowing their children any access to firearms.

The penalties imposed on parents for such crimes have the primary purpose of reminding them of their duties as parents and to help them in controlling their child's behavior. This is why the most common penalties for violations include mandatory counseling services and rehabilitative programs that both the parent and child participate in. If the crime resulted in damages to another person, then the parent may be held liable for those damages, including restitution for destroyed property or other losses. The court may also mandate that the parent participate with their child in mandatory community service.

If a child is facing criminal charges, then seeking the services of an attorney is a good idea. Criminal charges against a minor do not just affect the minor, but they affect the parents as well. An attorney can assist a parent with organizing the defense of their child's case. In the event that the court does attempt to impose penalties onto a parent, then an attorney can help minimize the cost of penalties or help prove the parent's diligence in trying to prevent the crime.

Source: Online Sunshine, "PART I GENERAL PROVISIONS", December 19, 2014

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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