Facing Burglary Charges as a Juvenile

Juvenile crime in Florida has many victims. Of course there is the victim of the crime, but there’s often the family of the juvenile who suffer when a minor commits a crime. Burglary is one offense for which a juvenile might be tried as an adult in Florida. A South Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney can help your child if he or she is accused of committing juvenile crime.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) reports the overall rate of referrals to the department is down over the past 20 years, meaning the juvenile crime rate is dropping. In 2010, only about 59 out of every 1,000 juveniles were referred to DJJ. That number continues a steady downward trend in the rate of delinquency.

However, young people do get into trouble with the law.

Burglary is the most common felony perpetrated by minors. During 2010-2011, there were more than 11,000 delinquency cases for burglary charges among adolescents.

Juvenile crime is treated differently than adult offenses in Florida, but just as is the case with adults, it’s important to have representation to protect the rights of the child. A South Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney should represent the child as the juvenile legal system handles them.

Usually a child is moved to a Juvenile Assessment Center after an arrest. Depending on the severity of the offense, a juvenile court judge can release the child back into the custody of a parent or guardian or the child can be ordered to remain in custody.

After a detention hearing, an arraignment will follow. During this time, the juvenile will be allowed to enter a plea.

Finally, a judge will preside over a disposition hearing. At this point, the judge will assess the guilt or innocence of the juvenile. There is no jury present during a juvenile court case.


Tried as an Adult

If a juvenile is approaching 18 years of age, the state may attempt to try the defendant as an adult. In a burglary case, this can mean much longer sentences and the denial of the rehabilitation that is an important feature of the juvenile justice system.

Once again, the news is good about the trends of adolescents being tried as adults in the state of Florida. The number of cases referred to be tried in adult court declined 17% in 2011, and declined 34% since 2006, according to the DJJ.

Even in these cases, a South Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney should represent the child. In some cases, a lawyer can argue that the case should be referred to juvenile court. In other cases, an attorney can make sure the child’s rights are protected as he or she moves through the adult courts.

A burglary conviction in adult court could result in a lengthy prison sentence of up to 30 years in prison. Even if a prison term is much shorter, a felony conviction can have life-long implications. They include loss of the right to vote, difficulty in obtaining a job, or sitting on a jury in the future.


Proper Representation Is Often Crucial in a Juvenile Crime Case

A South Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney understands the intricacies of the juvenile justice system and can protect the rights of a minor in a criminal prosecution.

The Miami Law Firm of Falk & Ross has attorneys who specialize in juvenile justice and can attempt to reach the best disposition for the juvenile.

Call 1-877-663-5110 or 1-305-741-6997 today for a consultation with someone who understands the special circumstances when a child faces a burglary charge.