There is no federal law that defines when someone is or is not a “minor,” although it is generally agreed upon that someone younger than 18 is referred to as a juvenile, child or minor. Some states automatically try anyone 17 or older as an adult; others will try 16-year-olds as adults. Florida, however, takes a different approach to handling juvenile charges.
In Florida, the Juvenile Courts maintain jurisdiction over criminal misdemeanor and felony cases for all defendants younger than 19. This means that if your child is already 18, he or she will still be subject to Juvenile Court. Your attorney from a Miami-Dade criminal defense law firm will be able to give you more information.
However, a juvenile can be tried as an adult under certain circumstances. In Florida, prosecutors, not judges, are allowed to determine whether or not to try a child as an adult. The minimum age for a child to be tried as an adult is 14 years of age. These discretionary juvenile waivers are typically reserved for heinous crimes and capital offenses.
Florida’s Juvenile Courts also hear juvenile dependency cases, truancy petitions filed against minors for skipping school, and CINS/FINS, the Children and Families-in-Need-of-Services. CINS/FINS are for families who do not have a dependency or delinquency case open for their children but seek services to improve child behavior and mitigate the risk of the child running away, cutting class or acting out.
If a child in your life faces a juvenile charge – or is being tried as an adult – contact a Miami-Dade criminal defense law firm immediately. Your attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor on your child’s behalf.
Contacting a Miami-Dade Criminal Defense Law Firm
If you’re facing criminal charges, your legal team is your best defense. The defense team you choose to represent you in court, defend your rights, and relentlessly pursue your case could be the difference between jail time and getting on with your life. Contact a Florida defense attorney team at Falk & Ross to discuss your case – 1-877-663-5110.