Juvenile Crimes Attorney
When a parent discovers that their child has been arrested for a juvenile crime, there is understandably a lot of stress and confusion for the entire family. We know that the number one priority will be protecting your child’s future.
If your child is facing any charges in Pinellas County, your juvenile crime attorney can help get your child back on track, guide you through the defense process and fight to keep their criminal record clean. Often your child has made a series of bad choices involving drugs, alcohol and/or hanging out with the wrong people. We can help put your family with a strategy to get your child any help he or she needs.
Compassionate and Experienced Legal Service for Juvenile Crimes in Pinellas County
Sean McQuaid understands that minors do not always make good choices and often parents feel helpless over what to do with impending criminal charges for their child. Mr. McQuaid has a track-record of successfully defending juveniles and minors facing criminal charges for over 19 years. Mr. McQuaid is a named partner at Battaglia Ross Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., which for 60 years has been providing Pinellas County with exceptional legal assistance. Mr. McQuaid is highly respected by the State and the Judges at the Pinellas Justice Center on 49th St. and has received a perfect ranking from numerous review sources from his peers, the judges he practices in front of, his clients and their families.
If you need a lawyer for your child in St. Petersburg or anywhere in Pinellas County, please contact Sean McQuaid today for a free consultation.
What happens if my child has been arrested?
Understandably, you may be very unsure on what steps to take and how to behave if your child has been arrested or received a notice to appear in court.
Contact an Attorney Quickly
A criminal defense lawyer will help relieve some of the stress you’re under and talk you through the legal process. You will need an attorney to assist your family with a legal strategy to navigate the court system. Be sure also not to underestimate juvenile crimes because your child’s future is at stake.
What Happens After the Arrest?
A juvenile will be taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC). Here, your child will be questioned about key personal information and parent contact details. Your child can be released once a parent is informed about the charges.
When and What is a Detention Hearing?
At a Detention Hearing, a judge will decide whether on not your child should be released, or held in custody. This hearing will usually take place the day after an arrest. The judge will consider the seriousness of the charges, any previous criminal history, and decide whether the juvenile should be further detained.
An experienced juvenile criminal lawyer can persuade a judge that the child doesn’t deserve to be held, or at least only released to the custody of the parents. A judge will decide to:
- Detain the juvenile for 21 days in a secure detention
- Put the child under home detention
- Release the child to their parents
Will Adult Charges be Filed?
Following a detention of the juvenile, the prosecutors at the State Attorney’s Office will soon investigate the case to decide whether charges should be filed and whether they should stay in juvenile court or get enhanced to adult court. Children aged at least 14 can potentially be tried as an adult for particularly serious allegations such as murder, rape and aggravated battery or burglary. If the crime included the use of a firearm or weapon, then a juvenile is more likely to be charged as an adult.
The difference between a reputable lawyer and an inexperienced lawyer here makes the difference. An experienced defense lawyer will contact the prosecutor immediately will well reasoned reasons why the charges should be dismissed or lessened. A criminal defense attorney will attempt to resolve the case before a trial, to save your child and your family from the stress and risk of punishment.
Possible Penalties in Juvenile Court
The Court and the State have many sentencing options for juveniles.
If the charges cannot be dropped at the outset, then there are several options designed to divert the juvenile from formal court proceedings. These programs are ideal to preserve records, but they require the help of an experienced attorney to negotiate. All of the programs are based around helping juveniles to understand their wrongdoing and get them help. The main benefit to these programs are that cases are dismissed upon completion of each plan’s particular sanctions. Typically the plan options are:
- Juvenile Arbitration
- Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program (JDAP)
- The Walker Plan
For those that are not eligible for a diversion plan, some juveniles will be placed on probation, where a Juvenile Probation Officer will supervise your child to fulfill certain requirements. These usually include better performance or attendance at school, curfews, community service work, random drug checks and/or counseling. More severe charges or repeated violations of the probation can result in harsher punishment to include residential commitment.
Genuine Help, Clean Records and Reduced Penalties
In Florida, showing an initiative to overcome problems such as addiction can convince a prosecutor to reduce penalties and drop charges. Your child may well have never been involved in a crime before, but their involvement with drugs or alcohol might have been spiraling out of control for some time.
“There are ample resources to help people get clean and stay clean in Pinellas County. I have a list of recommendations for treatment providers in the area, and I know the costs and options for virtually every program available. The goal on all of my juvenile cases is to keep your child out jail, preserve his or her record and provide the resources for any help they need to avoid these mistakes from happening again.”
Common Juvenile charges:
- Assault and Battery
- Burglary (vehicle) and Trespass
- Drug Possession
- Drug Sales
- Drug Trafficking
- DUI – Driving Under the Influence
- Traffic Offenses
Hire a Juvenile Defense Attorney in Pinellas County
Don’t leave your child’s future to chance. With the help of a reputable criminal defense attorney, you can be guided from day one through the process of defending your child’s future and putting them onto a more healthy path.
If you have any questions, please contact Sean McQuaid today.
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