What happens when a juvenile is arrested and charged with a crime? The incident can be startling both for the juvenile and for the parents. It is important for both parties to stay calm and make informed decisions. The steps taken now could affect the adolescent for years to come.
Juveniles commit many of the same offenses as their adult counterparts: Drug possession, drunk driving, assault, vandalism, theft, burglary, etc. But the process that follows is not necessarily the same.
Here are 3 things parents should keep in mind if their child has been charged with a crime:
- Juvenile vs. criminal court proceedings: There are fundamental differences between the juvenile justice system and the criminal justice system for adults. The juvenile justice system focuses more on rehabilitation, treatment, and skill development. Individuals under the age of 18 are typically but not always processed through the juvenile justice system.
- Your child may be detained: Depending on the severity of the crime, your child could be arrested and detained for up to 21 days in Florida.
- The incident can be life-changing: The stakes are high for juveniles who are facing criminal charges. The juvenile may face detention, be assigned to a probation office, and be required to appear in court. The incident can cause friction among family members, friends, and teachers. There may be educational repercussions. Additionally, youth arrest records are often accessible to the public.
It important not to panic. But it is also important to take the matter seriously and seek help from a juvenile criminal defense attorney. In addition to seeking legal help, other programs and services may be available to help your child.