Defending Jacksonville Juveniles Charged with Criminal Offenses
Helping families keep their children out of the criminal justice system
When your child is facing charges of juvenile delinquency, it can seem like the government is trying to rip your family apart. At the law firm of Shafer Law, P.A., we take every possible step to keep kids at home with their families so that they can get the treatment and care they need. Our attorneys also work to keep juveniles from being charged as adults and, when possible, to have those over 18 prosecuted as a youthful offender instead of as an adult.
Defending juveniles against common charges
Many children are charged in connection with fights and burglary. The most common juvenile delinquency arrests in the Jacksonville area stem from misdemeanor simple assault or battery. These charges are often the result of a schoolyard fight and should not result in your child being sent away to a juvenile facility. Our lawyers do everything we can to have the charges dropped or the sentence reduced.
Teenagers are known to steal things. For most of them, this is just a phase that will pass. When they are caught, our attorneys work to keep children home, away from the juvenile detention centers where they will be surrounded by the bad influence of real criminals.
Understanding juvenile delinquency law and sentencing
Our attorneys help families during every step of dealing with the juvenile law system. Florida’s system treats many crimes by minors under the age of 18 as acts of delinquency instead of adult crimes. A court will decide whether a child is delinquent as opposed to just prosecuting a crime. After an arrest, a child will be processed at a Juvenile Assessment Center and either detained or released into the custody of parents or guardians. If the child is released, the next step is either court or a juvenile diversion program. Our attorneys encourage courts to put all juveniles into diversion programs so that they can remain in their community while rehabilitating. We know that parents often have questions in these cases, and we are glad to provide answers.
Helping youthful offenders avoid adult prosecution
Florida law includes a special process for treating youth up to 20 years old similarly to juveniles. The state calls these defendants “youthful offenders” and allows them to avoid the normal adult penal system when:
- they are juveniles who have been transferred to the criminal system or are adults 18, 19 or 20 years old at the time of sentencing;
- have pled guilty or nolo contendere, or have been found guilty of a felony; and
- have not previously been designated as a youthful offender.
Youthful offenders are often able to avoid prison and are given opportunities to improve their lives through counseling and education. The goal of this program is to keep youth who are simply misbehaving from being forced to live in prison with hardened criminals whose lifestyle is likely to rub off on them. Our firm takes every possible step to get defendants into these programs.
Call us when your child or teen is facing juvenile or criminal charges
Parents take their children’s safety and well-being seriously. So do we. At Shafer Law, P.A., we help Florida families with kids facing juvenile delinquency proceedings or criminal charges. Our attorneys have an understanding of the juvenile system and experience defending against all types of criminal charges. For a free consultation at our Jacksonville office, call us at 904-450-5872 or contact us online.