Protecting Your Child Against Criminal Charges
A juvenile arrest in the state of Florida can be devastating for a family. If your child has been arrested for a juvenile crime in central Florida, call the Finkelstein Firm, P.A., in Clearwater to schedule a free consultation. My name is Jenna Finkelstein, and I am a highly trained and experienced trial lawyer who is dedicated to defending the rights of children who have been arrested.
What Is At Stake In These Charges
Most people do not realize that juvenile charges are very serious. The way a case is handled can have a serious impact on your child well into adulthood. Schools, employers and even branches of the military will have an interest in your child’s case and how it was resolved.
It is important to know that children have constitutional rights when it comes to defending their criminal cases. All aspects of a case must be examined to determine whether the child has any defenses and/or motions or legal reasons that justify a dismissal. Additionally, it is important for parents to become educated about the various programs that are available to their children and how they can become involved in those programs.
The Typical Process For These Charges
If you child has been arrested or cited by a law enforcement officer – whether it was while in school or out in the community – it is important to act fast. The charges may soon be brought to the attention of the prosecuting agency. As an experienced juvenile defense attorney, I can become involved early to provide information to the prosecuting agency that may help significantly reduce the charges or avoid formal prosecution.
Depending on the nature of the contact with law enforcement, your child may be taken into the juvenile assessment center, where it will be determined whether it is necessary for the child to be held for a longer period of time in the juvenile detention center. Your child will have a hearing within 24 hours of being taken into custody. I will request for your child to be released from the detention center pending any criminal juvenile prosecution.
When Your Child Faces Adult Charges
Unfortunately, some juvenile charges may be filed in adult criminal court. I will make your child’s future my priority. Adult criminal court can be very stressful for a child. I will work hard to prevent this from happening. I am experienced in dealing with the juvenile process. Ultimately, it is my goal to avoid the arms of the criminal system for kids by encouraging private resolutions.
At the Finkelstein Firm, P.A., I have experience with mental health and behavioral programs that may be available to your child. Getting an experienced attorney involved early on in the juvenile process can reduce the impact that the experience may have on your child’s future.
Available Juvenile Programs
There are various programs available for juvenile offenders. The type of program available depends on the child’s criminal history, the type of offense and the specific needs of the child. Programs include the following:
- Juvenile arbitration program: This program is available to a first-time offender who has been arrested for a misdemeanor. If the child successfully completes this program, then the charges will be dismissed.
- Service & Treatment for Offender Prevention (STOP): This program is available to repeat misdemeanor violators and children charged with third-degree felonies. The program involves specific conditions that the juvenile must complete, such as counseling, community service, employment and/or required school attendance.
- Juvenile drug court program: This program is available to juveniles with misdemeanor and/or felony charges whose charges suggest that the child is involved in some type of drug use/abuse. Drug treatment and random urine tests are common conditions of this program.
- Teen court: Teen court is a program that targets children who have shown a pattern of criminal behavior. There are two types of teen court programs: traffic (for traffic offenders) and truancy (for children who have excessive absences from school).
The types of programs may vary from county to county. However, most counties in the state of Florida have some version of the programs discussed above.
Get The Representation Your Child Needs
Call the Finkelstein Firm, P.A., at 727-202-4418 today to see how I can help, or email me here for your free initial consultation. I defend juvenile cases in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties and the surrounding areas.