Orlando Juvenile Offenses Lawyer
Typically, the brain does not fully develop until age 25. The prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that controls logical thought and decisionmaking, usually develops last. That’s why children chase balls into the street and associate with street gangs. From a strictly biological standpoint, they simply cannot understand the risks in these situations and make good decisions. Florida law recognizes this fact, which is why juvenile matters are procedurally different from regular criminal matters.
These procedural differences do not affect the serious consequences of criminal acts. So, the aggressive Orlando juvenile offenses lawyers at the O’Mara Law Group fight hard for your child. We investigate the facts and research the law, so when we do battle with aggressive Orange County prosecutors, we are fully prepared. This preparation gives us an edge. As a result, we are often able to negotiate extremely favorable plea agreements or even convince judges to throw cases out of court.
Overview of the Juvenile Justice System in Florida
In most situations, Florida’s juvenile justice system is basically a hybrid between family law and criminal law. While the individual is responsible for his/her actions, there is normally something in the juvenile’s environment that contributed to the situation. So, the juvenile justice system aims to punish the individual and rectify the situation as appropriate.
Technically, Florida police officers may almost always issue citations instead of arresting individuals. But they hardly ever do so if the defendant is an adult. But many juvenile cases do begin with citations. Then, the court process begins.
Many juvenile criminal cases trigger parallel proceedings against the parents. That’s especially true if the juvenile allegedly committed a violent offense or has a criminal record.
Types of Juvenile Defense Cases We Handle
Florida has a juvenile justice code, but the criminal offenses that juvenile prosecutors are the same ones that adults face. Just like in adult court, juvenile prosecutors must establish every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Some of the matters we handle include:
- Murder: In most of the juvenile homicide cases we handle, the juvenile was a lookout or otherwise did not pull the trigger. Nevertheless, Florida law permits murder charges against these defendants in these situations.
- Drug/Alcohol Offenses: Children are often ensnared in complex drug trafficking cases in much the same way. Others get caught with small amounts of a controlled substance, such as a street drug or an illegal prescription drug. MIP (minor in possession of alcohol) and PI (public intoxication) are the most common alcohol-related juvenile infractions.
- Property Crimes: Most of the juvenile cases in Orange County involve theft, vandalism, burglary, and other property crimes. These cases are more difficult to prosecute, which normally means they are easier to defend.
- Sex Crimes: These instances often begin as bullying, and then things take an extremely sinister turn. Sexual contact is not necessarily an element of the offense. Indecent exposure cases in juvenile court are less common, but they do happen.
In parallel child custody matters, prosecutors usually only need to establish their cases by clear and convincing evidence. That’s the next-lowest standard after beyond a reasonable doubt.
Plea agreements resolve most of these cases. This plea usually involves a lighter sentence and/or a lesser charge. Once the child turns 18, it’s usually possible to seal all criminal records.
Contact Experienced Attorneys
Juvenile cases are serious criminal matters. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Orlando, contact the O’Mara Law Group. After-hours visits are available.