When a person under the age of 18 years has been arrested for a criminal offense, the case will most likely end up in juvenile delinquency court, although adult charges are possible for more serious offenses. Juvenile Delinquency attorneys at the Brandon law firm of The Bantner Firm have the experience necessary to properly help you or your child through this unfamiliar territory.
Juvenile Delinquency Process
The allegations against the child are formally initiated by the Office of the State Attorney through the filing of a Petition alleging that the child has committed a delinquent act. The decision on whether to file a petition rests solely with the State Attorney regardless of any recommendations made by the Department of Juvenile Justice. Delinquent acts most often are criminal acts.
Once a Petition has been filed, it must be served with a summons on the child, the child’s parents, custodians, or guardians and the guardian ad litem. The parents or custodian is responsible for getting the child to the hearing at the date and time named in the summons. If the child is detained, the child is served in custody and must be arraigned within 48 hours after the Petition is filed.
The first major hearing is the arraignment. At an arraignment, the child enters a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty. Most times it is advisable to enter a plea of not guilty to give you and your attorney time to investigate the case thoroughly and to review the discovery documents. At this hearing the Court will also appoint the Public Defender to represent the child if the child otherwise qualifies for an appointment. If a not guilty plea is entered, the case will be set for an adjudicatory hearing. The adjudicatory hearing must be held within 90 days of the date of arrest or service of the summons, whichever is earlier. Adam Bantner is an experienced trial attorney that will fight the allegations against you or your child at the adjudicatory hearing.
Juvenile Walker Plan
First-time offenders are often eligible for a diversion program or a “Walker Plan,” which is a proposed plan of treatment, training or conduct. These programs are discretionary with the Office of the State Attorney. However, we can negotiate with the State Attorney for the purpose of persuading them to offer diversion or a Walker Plan that is beneficial to the child. If the child successfully completes the program, the Petition may be dismissed by the court upon proper motion. If the plan is violated, the court may enforce it, modify it, or set the case for an adjudicatory hearing.
If the child is found to have committed a delinquent act, either after trial or entry of a plea, the court has a variety of options at disposition. These include:
- Commitment to a residential facility under the control of the Department of Juvenile Justice
- Place the child on probation
- Revoke the child’s driver’s license
- Order the child and the child’s parents to pay restitution
- Order the child and the child parents to participate in a community work project
- Issue a judicial warning
- Other sanctions reasonably related to the needs of the child
The Court also must decide whether to adjudicate the child delinquent or to withhold adjudication of delinquency.
Juvenile Use of a Firearm
If the juvenile delinquent is found to have used a firearm during the commission of the delinquent act, mandatory detention and community service hours will apply. Section 790.22(9)(a) states:
(9) Notwithstanding s. 985.245, if the minor is found to have committed an offense that involves the use or possession of a firearm, as defined in s. 790.001, other than a violation of subsection (3), or an offense during the commission of which the minor possessed a firearm, and the minor is not committed to a residential commitment program of the Department of Juvenile Justice, in addition to any other punishment provided by law, the court shall order:
(a) For a first offense, that the minor shall serve a minimum period of detention of 15 days in a secure detention facility; and
1. Perform 100 hours of community service; and may
2. Be placed on community control or in a nonresidential commitment program.
Courts have held that these mandatory provisions apply even if the juvenile did not actually possess the firearm, i.e., it was possessed a co-defendant. State v. I.J., 43 Fla. L. Weekly D2495c (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).
Call a Brandon Attorney Today!
Hillsborough County law firm The Bantner Firm will fight for the best result for every child it represents in juvenile delinquency cases. Call us today at 813.397.3965 to discuss your case for free!
Adam Bantner – Criminal Defense Attorney at Law
If you are in need of an expert criminal defense attorney specializing in legal defense against DUI, traffic, criminal, violent crime charges, or a personal injury – you’ll find it here.
Adam L. Bantner, II is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney representing those accused of crimes in Hillsborough and Polk counties. He is the Past President of the Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys., is a Super Lawyers Rising Star, and AVVO rated “Superb.” Adam is a member of Valrico Law Group.
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Adam Bantner, II is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Law Attorney representing those accused of crimes in Hillsborough and Polk Counties. When you are facing criminal charges, you want an expert in your corner. The Florida Bar has recognized Adam as an expert criminal defense attorney.
I have been defending the accused since 2006 and am Past President of the Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.
I have tried over 30 jury trials, on charges ranging from driving on a suspended license to murder.
In addition, I am a Brandon personal injury attorney. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, give me a call to see how we can help!
I approach each case on the principle that every client deserves zealous representation, with attention to detail and to their individualized needs. My mission is to get the best possible result for every client, in every case, every time. Give me a call to see how I can assist you to get the best results in your case. I are here to help.