There once was a time when the Saint Lucie County juvenile court system and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice were both a rehabilitative process for young people who were in need of some guidance and help understanding the rules of society. Today, juvenile courts in Florida are more like a younger version of adult criminal court, with cases that make headlines and create public outrage. According to a 2007 study by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, the number of juvenile delinquency cases have increased over 300% since 1960.
In light of the trend to prosecute children more frequently, criminal lawyer Brian H. Mallonee has taken a special interest in fiercely defending juveniles charged with crimes in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida. As we do for all of the people we defend, a creative and aggressive approach is utilized when handling a juvenile criminal matter.
First and foremost, we try to ensure the child is not prosecuted as an adult. The State of Florida and its legislatures have granted the State Attorney's Offices a lot of discretion in this regard. Early legal intervention can often make the difference between a teenager being charged as an adult or charged as a juvenile. Juvenile sanctions are generally more forgiving than adult sanctions and it is important that we make every attempt to have the case tried in juvenile court.
The legal system does not deal with these cases in the same way it deals with adult cases. The juvenile may have broken the law, however it is more important to ensure that the child (and guardian) understands the severity of the crime and to also ensure the crime will not be repeated as an adult. Protecting the rights of the juvenile in these matters coincides with the intention of the legal system to ensure justice and guidance; not just punishment.
There are a number of ways to attack the government's case in juvenile criminal cases. However, they do differ from adult cases. There are no juries; the juvenile will only be facing a judge. So, entering courtroom with an experienced juvenile defense attorney with a a good reputation in the courtroom will go a long way to protecting the juvenile's rights. A good attorney knows that politely educating the judge about the law can make a difference inside a juvenile courtroom.
Each case is different in Saint Lucie County and there may be a creative solution that is in the best interest of all the parties. Is this the juvenile's first offense? It could be that a brief stint on juvenile probation and a letter of apology are in order. Second offense? Maybe the juvenile needs to spend a little time serving the community. We believe that avoiding juvenile prison is always in the child's best interest, and we will aggressively fight for a final disposition that avoids incarceration in a juvenile commitment program.
At the Law Office of Brian H. Mallonee, we handle juvenile criminal cases with the same intensity as we do any other matter. We take every child's rights and future very seriously, and defend children who are accused of any criminal matter on the treasure coast, including the following locations: St. Lucie (Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie), Indian River (Vero Beach, Sebastian), Martin (Stuart, Jensen Beach, Palm City), and Okeechobee counties. contact criminal lawyer Brian Mallonee at (772) 464-1991 for a no cost evaluation of your case.
Brian Mallonee is a Criminal Defense Lawyer Serving St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties