Juvenile Offenses & Criminal Defense
Understanding Juvenile Offenses & Criminal Defense
At one time Saint Lucie County juvenile court system and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice were both a rehabilitative process for young people in need of guidance and help understanding the rules of society. Today, juvenile courts in Florida are more like a younger version of adult criminal court. Their cases make headlines and create public outrage. According to a 2007 study by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, the number of juvenile delinquency cases are up over 300% since 1960.
In light of the trend to prosecute children more frequently, criminal lawyer Brian H. Mallonee takes special interest in fiercely defending juveniles charged with crimes in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida. Like all those we defend, a creative and aggressive approach is utilized when handling a juvenile criminal matter.
The Juvenile Defense Process
First and foremost, we try to ensure the child is not prosecuted as an adult. The State of Florida and its legislatures grant 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. This is the type of case best handled by a criminal lawyer.
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 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 the courtroom with an experienced juvenile defense attorney with 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 St Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties; and there may be a creative solution that is in the best interest of all 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 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 for a juvenile defense lawyer free consultation.