An Aggressive Approach To Juvenile Defense

Young people have their whole lives ahead of them. When they are accused of a crime, a lot hangs in the balance. Their education, career paths, freedom and reputation are on the line.

At Bilello & Soowal, PLLC, our lawyers provide an aggressive defense for students and juveniles facing criminal charges. They represent juveniles at the school disciplinary level as well as in any lawsuits or criminal charges that result from the allegations. As experienced attorneys focusing on education law and related areas, they know what’s at stake, and they will fight hard to protect you or your student.

The Juvenile Justice System In Florida

Juvenile cases are handled differently than adult crimes. However, the consequences can be just as serious. Our attorneys are very familiar with the juvenile justice process, and they will work diligently to protect your child from harsh consequences that could have a lifelong impact.

Common Juvenile Charges

Our lawyers frequently handle juvenile charges involving:

  • Violent fights at school leading to assault and battery charges
  • Weapons offenses related to bringing knives or guns to school
  • Sexual harassment or assault cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct
  • Criminal trespassing charges

Our attorneys know the ins and outs of navigating these and other allegations. They can identify the strongest path forward, whether that means fighting to get the charges dropped or reduced, pursuing a diversionary program or advocating for less harsh consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions About Juvenile Defense

Here are some key things to know if your child is in trouble with the law.

What ages are in the juvenile justice system in Florida?

Children under 18 years old are generally considered juveniles in the eyes of Florida law. Minors under 18 who get into trouble with the law will most likely be facing the juvenile justice system.

However, there are exceptions. Prosecutors can decide to charge juveniles as young as 14 as adults under certain conditions. This decision depends on many factors, including the severity of the offense and the child’s prior record. Children over age 16 must sometimes automatically face the adult court system in severe situations.

How is juvenile court different than adult court in Florida?

Juvenile courts are different than adult criminal courts in several important ways. Its focus is on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The goal is to help the child change, keep the community safe and ensure accountability. Nonetheless, kids in juvenile court still face serious potential consequences, such as commitment to a juvenile residential detention center. Accusations may also lead to student disciplinary proceedings, potentially resulting in suspension or expulsion from school.

Juvenile court follows a similar process to adult court, with steps like arraignment and hearings. Kids accused of offenses have the right to a juvenile defense lawyer.

However, there are several procedural differences between adult and juvenile courts. For example, a judge will decide the outcome in a juvenile case, not a jury. The proceedings and court records are confidential.

What happens in a Florida juvenile detention case?

Serious juvenile offenses may result in the possibility of detention – a harsh consequence that is comparable to imprisonment. A juvenile probation officer assesses the situation to determine whether detention is warranted. This determination depends on factors such as:

  • The nature of the alleged juvenile crime
  • Any prior offenses
  • Safety risks to others
  • Likelihood of running away

Detention could mean staying in a residential facility or home monitoring. A judge must approve detention, and juveniles have the right to a detention hearing within 24 hours. This hearing is a critical time to enlist a juvenile defense attorney.

Protect Your Child’s Future With Help From Our Team

As a parent, few things are more scary than knowing that the course of your child’s entire life may change based on serious allegations that land them in legal trouble. You don’t have to face the legal system alone.

Our lawyers will take your child’s case seriously and pursue every avenue for protecting their future. To learn more, please reach out to our offices in Orlando and Deerfield Beach. You can also call 866-335-1513.