Okaloosa County Juvenile Defense Attorney
A juvenile charge in Okaloosa County is not a slap on the wrist that disappears like most people think. In reality, it can haunt your child’s record for the rest of their life. Knowing that your minor child is charged with a crime or is under suspicion can be a nightmare.
Right now, you are probably angry, scared, and disappointed. Before you make any rash decision about your child’s future, contact Flaherty Defense Firm at (850) 243-6097. As parents ourselves, we know all too well the triumph and heartache that children can bring. Knowing that you and your juvenile have a caring and dedicated defense team will not only ease your mind, but also give your child a fighting chance at a future.
Juvenile law in Okaloosa County is the polar opposite of adult criminal court. The adult criminal system seeks to impose penalty rather than rehabilitation. The juvenile system is unique in that probation officers, counselors, law enforcement, and prosecutors have the judge’s ear when your child’s number is called. You will be faced with a series of very difficult decisions and it will seem as though the entire State is positioned against you and your child. You and your child need an advocate. For over 16 years, Flaherty Defense Firm has been defending juveniles in Okaloosa County. If your child has been charged with even the smallest misdemeanor offense, do not assume that the case will disappear just because it is a juvenile offense.
Common Misconceptions about Juvenile Cases in Okaloosa County
A juvenile in Florida is a person under the age of 18. The prosecutor in a juvenile case has the discretion to send the case to adult court. In some circumstances, the prosecutor is required by statute to charge a juvenile as an adult. The time between arrest and the first hearing will dictate if your child is sent to adult court. It is in that crucial time period that Flaherty Defense Firm will exhaust all efforts to keep your child in the confines of a more secure outcome in juvenile court rather than suffer adult sentencing.
Does a Juvenile Record in Okaloosa County Go Away?-NO
Despite what you may believe about juvenile records, they are not always sealed from altering your life in the future. Juvenile drug adjudications and serious felony adjudications will follow a child through adulthood. Prior juvenile convictions can impose a driving suspension and be used to elevate future charges in terms of sentencing.
Juvenile diversion is a program that may be available for first time offenders. Juvenile diversion is a resolution that will result in a dismissal. Having the charge dismissed provides the juvenile with a chance to expunge the record, which means that the record truly is erased. While not all cases and juveniles qualify for juvenile expungement, the help of an experienced juvenile defense attorney can mean the difference between dismissal and an adjudication.
Common juvenile diversion programs in Okaloosa County include Teen Court, Parentally Applied Discipline, Deferred Prosecution Agreement, and Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program.
The juvenile court process is designed to rehabilitate rather than punish. With that in mind, each juvenile case will have a level of punishment, but the implications are far removed from what an adult criminal defendant would incur. The juvenile process is relatively uniform but each case allows for a “tailoring” based on the juvenile and the crime alleged. The process can be extremely daunting and very confusing.
Unlike adult criminal cases, the juvenile system does not have a set time for resolution, but rather, it is based on the court’s jurisdiction over your child until your child is 19. In some cases, the Court can hold jurisdiction until the age of 21.
Issues that most juvenile parents face include:
- Will my child be held in secure detention?
- What happens after the detention hearing?
- Will my child be released to me?
- What is Judicial Court Intervention?
- What are the different ways the case can be resolved in court?
- Will a conviction cost your child his/her driver’s license?
- Will my child be committed to a facility?
Each step in the juvenile process requires knowledge and finesse to resolve favorably. Having an experienced attorney on your side will not only alleviate your anxiety, but also protect your child from unforeseen consequences.
If your child has been charged with a crime in Okaloosa County, contact Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.