Juvenile crime charges are a delicate matter. Every parent expects that their children will make mistakes—it’s all part of growing up. However, minors do not always understand the consequences their actions can have. Children may also not fully realize that those consequences can place permanent limitations on the opportunities available to them over the course of their lives.
Most people understand that the juvenile justice system operates differently from the “regular” justice system. However, it is important that you not assume that the juvenile justice system is automatically more lenient. This is not always the case. And sometimes, depending on the age of the individual being charged and the severity of the crime, criminal charges can be referred to the adult courts.
Even if a charge is tried in juvenile court, minors charged with crimes may be facing formal detention in a secure center while waiting for their court hearing. Being separated from their family during such an emotionally trying time can be extremely psychologically difficult for both child and parents. And a conviction can lead to the child being placed in a residential commitment facility.
We believe that all individuals accused of a crime are entitled to a strong and meticulous defense. However, we recognize that cases involving minors who are clearly at a crossroads in their lives require a special sensitivity. No parent or guardian wants to sit by while their child’s future is at risk.
Criminal convictions, even those at the juvenile level, are not automatically sealed or expunged in Florida. This means that your child may, indeed, be at risk of a “permanent record” if they have been charged with a crime, even if the charges remain within the juvenile court system. We are prepared to assist with that process for minors who have already been convicted of a crime. It is our belief that record sealing is an important part of giving children a second chance.