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Destin Juvenile Lawyer

Defending Juvenile Arrests in Destin for over 13 years

If your child has been arrested for a juvenile offense in Destin, you are probably scared and confused about what happens next. You might be wondering what you should do in order to make sure that this arrest doesn’t follow your child and affect his or her future.

You are right to be scared and concerned. A juvenile arrest is not a slap on the hand and has the potential to impact a promising future. Right now I encourage you to contact Flaherty Defense Firm and get the answers you need. With over 13 years successfully defending juveniles in Destin, we have the knowledge and expertise to fight for you.

Protecting and defending your greatest asset, your children, is our number one priority. Just because your child has fallen on the wrong side of the law does not reflect on you as a parent. At Flaherty Defense Firm we have represented all forms of juvenile arrests in Destin. We will not judge you or your child but fight to ensure that a mistake does not result in life long consequences.

Why Should I hire an Attorney for a Juvenile Offense in Destin?

Contrary to popular belief, what happens in juvenile court does not necessarily stay in juvenile court. If your child has been arrested for a juvenile offense there is more than a lesson to learn. Juvenile consequences are very real and can lead to a lifetime of hassle and missed opportunity. Leaving your child’s future in the hands of the state prosecutors is dangerous. At Flaherty Defense Firm, our Destin legal team knows what steps to take to protect your child’s future.

Can My Child Be Charged as an Adult?

Yes. Although a juvenile is defined as a person under the age of 18, in some cases they can be transferred to adult court. For most Destin offenses, all persons under the age of 18 will remain in juvenile court. There are, however, a few exceptions where the State can send the child to adult court despite their age. Crimes that involve extreme acts of violence or abuse are permitted for transfer to adult court. The juvenile prosecutor will review the charges, consult with the juvenile justice department, and speak with witnesses or victims before making this determination. A seasoned Destin juvenile lawyer can work to lessen the severity of the charge and even whether or not it is transferred to adult court.

What is the Juvenile Justice system in Florida?

The Juvenile Justice System in Florida is regulated by Florida Statute §985.00. The goal of the juvenile system is to be rehabilitative rather than punitive. What this means is that the Court wants to ensure that a juvenile offender does not become an adult offender. This means that with the right advocacy and guidance we have more flexibility in the outcome of juvenile cases over adult cases. The juvenile system in Florida is also geared toward first time offenders and putting in place the proper guidance and consequences so the juvenile does not make the same mistake again.

Common Juvenile Offenses in Destin

While juveniles can be arrested for any offense in Florida, the most common juvenile arrests in Destin are for:

Evaluation for Okaloosa County Juvenile Detention Center Jail Placement

Once a juvenile has been arrested for an offense in Destin, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice begins their intake process. The first step is completion of the DRAI, Detention Risk Assessment Instrument. This assessment will be completed immediately upon arrival. This assessment is completed at the Okaloosa County Juvenile Detention Center. The main goal in the DRAI is to assess whether or not the juvenile is a risk to themselves or society. The DRAI is based on a point system. If the juvenile reaches a certain number of points they can be required to be confined at home with a parent or guardian or detained with the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Juvenile Jail/Detention in Destin

If your child has completed the DRAI and their points require detention they will be placed in the Okaloosa County Juvenile Detention Center which is essentially jail for juveniles. The standard jail sentence for juvenile offenses in Destin can range from 21 days (most offenses) to 30 days (serious violent crimes). This is referred to as secure detention. Additional time can be placed on any juvenile for failure to follow rules or behavioral issues.

What is a Juvenile Adjudication of Delinquency and Will it Follow Me?

You have likely read that a juvenile arrest will be closed and not seen after the case is resolved. You are correct; the case will be closed and will not be viewable by the general public. However, if you are an adjudicated delinquent of the crime charged it will follow you in the future. Having an experienced juvenile offense lawyer in Destin is vital to ensuring your future rights are protected. A juvenile conviction is called an adjudication of delinquency. It is not a conviction like adult charges but it has similar effects for future opportunities. The only way to completely remove a juvenile record from existence is to have it expunged. The expungement process is only reserved for certain charges and based on the outcome of the case.

How can a Destin juvenile conviction follow you?

  • Potential job loss/non-hire
  • Disclosure on Government Applications or Forms
  • Security Clearance Issues
  • Disclosure on Education Forms
  • Enlistment in the Military
  • Complicate matters if you are ever arrested in the future

What are the potential outcomes for a Juvenile case in Destin?

Although the outcome will be determined by the offense charged, there are several options available in the juvenile system. As we discussed earlier, the juvenile system’s main goal is to rehabilitate, not punish. Potential outcomes could include fines, court costs, community service, loss of driving privilege, life skill classes, home confinement, detention in the juvenile jail and certainly an adjudication. In many cases, the Destin team at Flaherty Defense Firm has successfully resolved juvenile charges through diversion programs. A case resolved through diversion means the case will be dismissed and eligible to be expunged from the juvenile’s record.

What is Juvenile Diversion in Destin?

In some cases, your child may be allowed to enter into a diversion program following their Destin arrest. Diversion programs include Parentally Applied Discipline, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, and Teen Court. In order to qualify for one of these programs, the juvenile probation officer assigned to your child’s case will make this recommendation to the prosecutor. That decision is made at a meeting between you, your child, and the probation officer called an Intake Assessment.

The Intake Assessment is crucial in dictating what direction the case ends up going. The probation officer will be asking your child a lot of questions and trying to assess whether your son or daughter is likely to reoffend or pose a danger to the community.

Very few attorneys do this, but I attend ALL Intake Assessments with my clients. I will be there with you every step of the way. I will also talk to the probation officer before the meeting and send over any mitigating evidence that we have, including report cards, awards, etc. I do this in every case because if the probation officer makes the right recommendation to the prosecutor, it just about guarantees that the prosecutor will go along with it and recommend a diversion program.

If the juvenile successfully performs, the case will be dismissed and then can be expunged. If the juvenile does not successfully perform, the case will go back to the juvenile probation officer for reevaluation.

Taking the right steps to protect your child after a Juvenile arrest in Destin

If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense in Destin, Florida, contact Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 for a free confidential consultation.

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