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What Legal Options Do I Have if My Underage Child is Arrested in Stuart?

It is no secret to parents in Martin County: Teenagers can get themselves into big trouble. If your underage child (minor) was arrested, you are likely feeling stressed out, even overwhelmed. Here is the good news: There are options available. At The Law Office of Denise Miller, PA, we provide solutions-driven legal representation to juveniles who have been arrested. In this article, our Stuart juvenile justice attorney discusses your options if your child is arrested in Florida.

Three Steps for a Parent Whose Child Has Been Arrested

The First Three Steps for a Parent Whose Child Has Been Arrested in Stuart, Florida

Was your child arrested in Stuart or elsewhere in Martin County? It is imperative that you take immediate action to protect their health, their well-being, their rights, and their future. A proactive approach is best. Here are the first three things that parents should do if a child is arrested:

  • Make Sure They are Safe: When you learn that your child has been arrested, the first priority is to ensure their safety. Make sure they are protected. A child may be released into your custody or they may be held in a juvenile detention center.
  • Understand the Allegations: Once you know your child is safe, seek to understand the specific allegations against them. You have the right to ask law enforcement for details about the charges and the circumstances leading to the arrest.
  • Consult with Stuart Juvenile Defense Lawyer: It is imperative to consult with a lawyer who has experience with juvenile defense. A Stuart juvenile delinquency attorney can review the arrest and the allegations, and develop a plan of action.

Most Underage Teens Have Their Case Handled in the Juvenile Justice System

Florida’s criminal law is much less strict on juvenile offenders. State policy recognizes that young people make mistakes. They are granted far more options for rehabilitation. As explained by the Florida Courts, the Office of Family Courts’ Delinquency Division plays a major role in these cases. Most minors will have their arrest handled by the juvenile justice process, not the adult criminal court system. However, that is not automatic in every case. Here is an overview of what parents in Stuart show know:

  • 12/13-Year-Olds ( Almost Always Juvenile Case): In Florida, cases involving 12 and 13-year-olds are always handled within the juvenile justice system.
  • 14/15-Year-Olds (Usually Juvenile Case): For teenagers ages 14 and 15, the norm is still to handle their cases through the juvenile system. However, there are 21 felony offenses that could potentially lead to a teenager of this age being charged as an adult.
  • 16/17-Year-Olds (Prosecutorial Discretion): For teenagers aged 16 and 17, the individual prosecutor has far more discretion. Technically, a lot of criminal cases could lead to adult charges against teenagers in this age group. Still, in practice, most cases are handled within the juvenile justice system.

Number #1 Criminal Defense Tip for Parents: Do everything you can to keep your child’s case out of the adult criminal justice system. The juvenile process is far more forgiving. A Stuart, FL, juvenile justice attorney can help.

Many Rehabilitative Options for Underage Offenders: Be Proactive

In Florida, the juvenile justice system provides a range of rehabilitative options that are designed to help underage offenders correct their paths. These options include:

  • Diversion programs;
  • Community service;
  • Counseling support; and
  • Educational programs.

Parents should be proactive in collaborating with their child’s lawyer and the court to determine which options are best suited for their child’s rehabilitation and long-term improvement.

The End of the Process: Sealing Juvenile Criminal Records to the Greatest Extent Possible

When your underage child is arrested, records will be produced. When they enter the juvenile justice process, records will be produced. You do not want a youthful mistake to follow your child around for his or her future. In Florida, sealing juvenile records is a critical step in protecting their long-term interests, such as educational and employment opportunities. You should work with a Stuart, FL juvenile defense lawyer to ensure that your child’s records are sealed to the greatest extent possible under the law.

Get Help From a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney in Stuart, Florida Today

At The Law Office of Denise Miller, PA, our Stuart juvenile delinquency lawyer is a compassionate, solutions-focused advocate for clients. If your underage child was arrested and charged with a crime, we are here to help. Contact us at our Stuart law office today for a fully confidential, no-obligation initial appointment. With a legal office in Stuart, we are well-positioned to provide criminal defense representation to underage teenagers throughout Martin County.

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