A Juvenile’s Rights

Your child has the exact same rights as an adult, and that means that the police must read the juvenile his or her rights before they arrest them. The juvenile also has a right to an attorney. Unfortunately though, in most cases an adolescent is too young to really understand what’s being said to them, and will certainly have no idea what to do. The police are required to notify the parents, but in Florida, again unfortunately, this often doesn’t happen as quickly as it should. This is where your child has hopefully called you as soon as possible, because you need to start advocating for your child quickly, so that you can make sure he or she doesn’t start answering questions that may be used against them later in court. Remember, both you and your attorney need to be present during any questioning that takes place by law enforcement. You will need to know all of the circumstances surrounding the situation, and need to understand whether your child is being “detained” or actually under arrest. Many times, if the violation is minor, a police officer may detain your child, and provide a warning against future violations. If this is the case, your child will be released only into your custody. In other instances, the police may be charging the child with a crime and your child may be under actual arrest. Depending on the severity of the crime, in Florida a juvenile may be prosecuted as a juvenile or as an adult, and the difference between these charges is huge. Again, an experienced attorney will understand at what level your child is being prosecuted, and can assist you with how to proceed through the Juvenile Justice System (JJC).

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