A crime committed by a juvenile can be just as serious as one committed by an adult. This is because in many cases the prosecution will attempt to try the juvenile in adult court—and seek adult punishments. It is therefore extremely important to obtain the counsel of an experienced Palm Beach Gardens criminal defense lawyer if your child has been charged with a juvenile offense.
My name is William Wallshein and I am a dedicated juvenile criminal defense attorney. I have over 29 years of experience as an attorney in the Florida criminal justice system, including five years as a state prosecutor. Having seen how juvenile cases proceed from both sides, I have a unique and valuable perspective regarding these types of cases.Florida Tries Juveniles as Adults in Many Cases
While there is a separate justice system designed to handle minors charged with criminal offenses, juveniles are only tried in this system in some instances. When a minor commits a more serious offense, the State of Florida may opt to try that minor as an adult, and subject him or her to same the range of possible sentences as an adult.
For example, if a minor 14 years old or older is charged with a severe offense such as murder, sexual battery, robbery, kidnapping, aggravated child abuse, aggravated assault, aggravated stalking, or aggravated battery, the prosecutor can directly file the case in the criminal court. A minor who is 16 years old or older and who is charged with a second felony offense or a third misdemeanor offense may be prosecuted in adult criminal court.
The State of Florida may also charge any minor accused of an offense as an adult if the prosecutor can convince the court that it is in the best interest of the community and the minor. For these reasons, it is critically important for a juvenile who is in trouble with law enforcement to secure the assistance of an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the Florida criminal justice system.How I Can Help with Your Case
I will do everything I can to make sure that the charge your child is facing will affect their life as little as possible. I can defend your son or daughter against any juvenile criminal charge, including:
- Driving without a license
- Gang-related offenses
- Drug offenses
- Firearms, burglary and theft
- Sex offenses
The first—and most important—thing in every case is to do everything we can to ensure that your child is tried in the juvenile system. The Florida juvenile justice system is focused on rehabilitation, rather than punishment. So even if your child is adjudicated “guilty,” verdicts in the juvenile system are much more lenient than in the adult system.Sentencing in the Juvenile Justice System
The sentences in Florida’s juvenile justice system are focused more on allowing the juvenile to become a productive member of society than on penalizing him or her. While a juvenile’s sentence may result in some kind of detention, that is not the primary sentencing option. A few of the most common alternative sentences that judges will sometimes use when sentencing juveniles are:
- Community Service
- Juvenile probation
- Removing the juvenile from his or her home
- Commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice (4 levels of seriousness)
- Low risk: 30-45 days
- Moderate Risk: 4-6 months
- High Risk: 6-9 months
- Juvenile Prison: 18-36 months
- Parental liability of up to $2,500
When I represent your child, I can rely on my decades of experience working in the Florida criminal justice system to negotiate with the prosecution, and if needed, advocate to the judge, for an alternative sentencing outcome such as one of those described above.What To Do if Your Son or Daughter Has Been Charged With a Juvenile Offense
If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, you should speak to Palm Beach Gardens criminal defense attorney William Wallshein as soon as possible to discuss the specific facts of the case. I have over 29 years of experience in the Florida criminal justice system. As a former prosecutor, I have seen cases from both the prosecution and the defense side, and I know what it takes to obtain a favorable result for my clients. Contact me online, or call 561-533-1221. I am available to meet with you in my Palm Beach Gardens office, or in my second location in West Palm Beach; both offices are right off I-95. I accept credit cards.