Juvenile Defense

Jacksonville Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Some mistakes can lead to serious consequences, especially for juveniles. Often, these children have committed crimes that can result in criminal charges. Many of these crimes do have lesser sentences than if an adult committed the offense. 


However, those serious crimes could result in the minor charged and sentenced as an adult. If your child was accused of a crime, you need to speak to an experienced juvenile defense lawyer.

Florida's Juvenile Crimes

In the state of Florida, the law classifies an individual as a juvenile up to the age of 17. Many of these juvenile crimes are labeled as “delinquent acts.” In a juvenile court, the judge will hear many different cases involving minor and criminal offenses. 


Minors often do not understand the consequences of their activities due to the lack of emotional, psychological, and mental maturity. If your child has been accused of a juvenile crime, you must contact a Jacksonville defense attorney. Even though these crimes are designated as “minor,” they could result in severe penalties.

Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes

Florida’s juvenile offenses are called delinquency or status offenses in the criminal justice system. Depending on specific circumstances, these crimes have various degrees of penalties. 

What Are Status Offenses?

Status offenses are crimes that are only applicable to juveniles. These are minor crimes with less severe penalties. Some of these crimes include:

  • Habitual truancy: Any student who misses 15 days of school without an excuse can be charged with truancy under Florida’s state laws. The penalties for this crime can include counseling or alternative schooling options. Many juveniles will need to complete a certain amount of community service hours. 
  • Curfew violations: Curfews help to protect minors and the community. Under Florida law, minors must stay out of public spaces after a certain time in the evening. As a first offense, the minor will receive a written warning. A subsequent offense will lead to community service and fines. 
  • Alcohol possession: For anyone under 21 years of age, alcohol possession is a crime. This offense is a misdemeanor in the state. Penalties can include a fine of up to $500. If the minor repeatedly violates this law, then it can lead to jail time.

Florida's Delinquency Offenses

Another type of juvenile crime is known as a delinquency offense. If an adult committed these crimes, the case would be heard in a criminal court. However, these cases are still presented in juvenile court for a minor. Some of these offenses include:

  • Illegal substance possession: Any juvenile in possession of an illicit substance will have to attend a drug counseling session. Some other penalties include detention, house arrest, or probation.
  • Theft: If the juvenile has committed property theft, he or she must pay a fine. In some cases, restitution must be paid to the victim. 
  • Harassment: Unfortunately, harassment is more common in today’s modern culture. Any juvenile convicted of this crime might have to attend counseling or be subjected to house arrest. If the harassment happened at school, the minor could face additional penalties, such as suspension from classes.

What Are Informal or Formal Actions?

In those cases involving a minor, the prosecutors can either file an informal or formal action against the juvenile. Many of these actions will depend on the facts of the case and the severity of the offense. 


Informal Action

If an informal action is issued against the juvenile, it only consists of a warning. The case is dismissed, and the minor is remanded into the custody of the parents. These offenses will not be a part of the juvenile’s permanent record. Some of the penalties include counseling, fines, restitution, and community service. 


Formal Action

For those serious crimes, the minor could face formal action. When the prosecutor files a formal charge in the court, a judge will hear the petition. The minor must attend all the court proceedings. 


While many of these cases are heard without the presence of a jury, it is vital to have a lawyer present for all the hearings. There are several outcomes for these violations, such as:

  • The judge can avert the charges: In this situation, the minor can avoid formal penalties with rehabilitation, community service, or counseling. 
  • Pleading no contest or guilty to a lesser charge: The courts might only sentence the juvenile to probation
  • Arguments to the validity of the crime: During this hearing, the prosecutor and defense lawyer will present their case. If the juvenile is guilty, the judge could “sustain the petition.”

Juvenile Legal Representation

Juvenile crimes are serious. Without the proper legal representation, your child could have a permanent criminal record. These minor crimes can lead to lost scholarship opportunities or job offers in the future. Any delinquent act needs the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville. 


Your attorney can protect your child’s legal rights and find the best options for their defense. In some cases, the lawyer can help reduce or even drop these charges. 


These juvenile crimes have a unique nature, and your child must be represented by someone who understands the law. A minor mistake should not penalize a minor for the rest of their lives. In some cases, the attorney can request alternative forms of punishment, including community service, counseling, and rehabilitative programs.

Experienced Jacksonville Juvenile Crime Lawyer

If your child has been charged or accused of a juvenile crime, you want to hire the best representation for the case. Many of these changes can damage the reputation of your child and family. With a criminal record, the child’s future could be limited as well. 


You need someone who can fight for your child’s legal rights as you proceed through the complicated juvenile justice system in Florida. 


Darryl Smith understands the justice system. He can help form a defense in your favor as you determine all the options for your case. With an experienced lawyer, you will be well represented in all forms of the process. Make sure to contact Darryl’s Jacksonville office to schedule a consultation.

Let Darryl help you!

If you have any questions, call or email Darryl today for a free case review/consultation.

Call : (904) 779-3646

dsmith@smithandeulo.com 7 days/week 24 hours