Child with handcuffs onThis is the next post in my series on the handling of juvenile criminal cases in Panama City and elsewhere in Florida. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if your son or daughter has been arrested. Speaking with counsel sooner, rather than later, will help to ensure that your child’s rights will be protected. In this article I will discuss an important topic – the differences between the adult and juvenile systems. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Technically speaking, Florida’s adult and juvenile criminal systems are quite different. The adult system is considered “criminal” in nature, while the juvenile system is considered “civil.” In the eyes of the law, adult court is meant to punish an offender. The Juvenile Court, in contrast, is meant to provide corrective measures which will help to guide a youth back onto the “right path.” The role of the Juvenile Court, therefore, is to be an intervening force in the life of a troubled youth.

The above distinctions make the adult and juvenile systems sound quite different. The truth of the matter, however, is that those distinctions can have little practical effect. When a youth commits a crime then they will be arrested and may remain incarcerated until their trial. They have a right to counsel and aggressive representation. If the police violated their rights, during the course of the arrest, then such a violation may lead to a dismissal of the charges. Finally, if a youth is found to have committed the offense then they will likely either serve probation or they will serve a term of incarceration. These facts show that Florida’s adult and juvenile justice systems can be, in fact, quite similar.

If your child has been arrested then it is important that you take steps to protect their rights. If a youth is incarcerated, after a trial, then they will be spending substantial time around other offenders. This exposure can potentially increase the possibility that they will reoffend in the future. Furthermore, after your child completes their probation or term of incarceration then they will likely face more severe penalties if they are arrested a second time. By helping your child today, you may very well be protecting their future.

If your son or daughter has been arrested then contact my office today to speak with a Panama City juvenile defense attorney. I am experienced in handling such matters and I will give your case the attention it deserves. I also assist Bay County cities of Callaway, Lynn Haven, and Panama City Beach as well as Calhoun County residents in Blountstown, Holmes County residents in Bonifay, Gulf County residents in Port St. Joe, Okaloosa County residents in Destin, Jackson County residents in Marianna, Leon County residents in Tallahassee, Walton County residents in DeFuniak Springs and Miramar Beach, Liberty County residents in Bristol, Wakulla County residents in Crawfordville, Gadsden County residents in Quincy, and Washington County residents in Chipley. I am also licensed to practice in federal court before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.