If you are the parent of a juvenile charged with any drug crime contained within Chapter 893 of the Florida Statutes, call the experienced defense team of Finebloom & Haenel today to discuss your child’s options and rights.
When a child is arrested for a drug crime under the law, the case travels through the juvenile justice system. The charge itself is the exact same as it would be for an adult, but the manner in which it is handled is different.
When a child is arrested for a drug crime, they are taken for an intake assessment at the Department of Juvenile Justice (Also called “DJJ”). DJJ has officers on staff that evaluate the child to determine:
- The severity of the crime
- If the crime was the child’s first
- Support systems in place for the child (such as does he have a parent or guardian willing to take care of them)
- The risk the child poses if released
The assessment results are listed in a scoresheet that is provided to the court.
If the assessment shows that the child should be released to “home detention” the child is released. Home detention is basically like house arrest for adults. But there must be a parent or guardian willing to take responsibility for the child.
If the assessment shows that the child should not be released, the child is taken to “secure detention.” This is the equivalent of adult jail. However, all of the people detained are children.
A juvenile case is usually resolved in 21 days unless the child or the attorney asks for an extension. So a child’s arraignment date is usually held within a week. At that point the child can plea guilty or not guilty.
If they plea guilty the case goes to “disposition.” Which is the term used for the juvenile’s sentencing hearing.
If they plea “not-guilty” the case goes to an “adjudicatory hearing.” This is the term used for a trial. However, juveniles are not entitled to a jury trial. All cases are heard in front of a judge.
If the child either pleas guilty to the charge, or if they are found to be guilty of the charge the case goes to the next phase which is the disposition hearing. This is the sentencing phase. Again, a scoresheet is used. The child can either be adjudicated delinquent or have delinquency withheld.
Then, depending on the recommendation from DJJ, the child will either be sentenced to a diversion program (such as teen court), placed on probation, or sent to a residential program. Residential programs have different levels of strictness to meet the needs of the child.
I addition, children who are found to be in violation of drug crimes face a one year license suspension and it can affect their schooling. They can be dismissed from the regular school system and forced into alternative school. Also, if they adjudicated delinquent for a drug crime, they can be ineligible for some types of college loans and grants. Almost all adjudications of delinquency will result in dismissal from a school sports team or other extra-curricular activity that can lead to scholarship loss.
If the child is over the age of 16 and has an extensive history in the juvenile system, or if the prosecutor feels the particular drug crime the child has committed is particularly bad or violent, the prosecutor can charge the child as an adult!!
If your child has been arrested for a drug crime in the Orlando area, call the defense team that is dedicated to protecting their rights. At the law offices of Finebloom & Haenel, we have the legal experience necessary to provide a proper defense. But we are also supportive and understanding to you and your child’s needs. Don’t trust an amateur. Call the law offices of Finebloom & Haenel today to discuss all of the available options for your child. We are available 24/7 by calling 407-218-6277.