Our first priority in any juvenile case is to keep the case in juvenile court where the goal of the entire system is to rehabilitate rather than punish.
It’s a little more complicated with sexually related crimes. Even if someone is convicted in juvenile court, they can still be deemed a sexual offender and will have to register as one for the rest of their life.
Children Should Be Tried in Juvenile Court
JT was a juvenile client in Destin. He was a 16-year-old boy who was charged with sexually molesting his younger sister. When I first met with JT and his parents, I was worried that the Prosecutor would file the charge as an adult. If they had, JT was looking at a 15-year prison sentence. Even in juvenile court, he faced incarceration until he was 21 years old.
I convinced the prosecutor to leave the case in juvenile court. JT and his family cooperated fully with the Department of Juvenile Justice because they were the ones who would make the ultimate recommendation to the Judge. At my suggestion, his family also enrolled JT in a sexual offender treatment program for juveniles. After he completed the program, the doctor scored JT as a low-risk to re-offend and recommended a non-jail sentence.
At the final hearing, the Judge sentenced JT to probation. He allowed the case to stay at the juvenile level. He was not designated a sexual offender.
I Defend Juvenile Sex Offenders With Compassion
I was very happy to help this young man and his family as they tried to put the pieces of their family back together. Because I am a parent myself, I can imagine how stressful dealing with something like this must be.
If you entrust Flaherty & Merrifield with your child’s defense, we will do everything we can to help you get through such a traumatic time.
If your child has been accused of a sex crime in Destin, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free, confidential consultation.