If your child has been arrested for vandalism in the Orlando area, the attorneys of Finebloom & Haenel can help!
Vandalism is covered in the Florida Statutes under the term “criminal mischief.” The criminal mischief statute that pertains directly to minors is 806.13. Under this statute it is unlawful for a minor to “willfully and maliciously injures or damages by any means any real or personal property belonging to another, including, but not limited to, the placement of graffiti thereon or other acts of vandalism thereto. . .”
When a child is arrested for criminal mischief or vandalism, 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.
In the case of a criminal mischief charge there are also additional penalties:
- The child may also be ordered to pay restitution or to fix the damage caused.
- If a minor is found to have committed a delinquent act under this section for placing graffiti on any public property or private property, and:
- The minor is eligible by reason of age for a driver’s license or driving privilege, the court shall direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to revoke or withhold issuance of the minor’s driver’s license or driving privilege for not more than 1 year.
- The minor’s driver’s license or driving privilege is under suspension or revocation for any reason, the court shall direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to extend the period of suspension or revocation by an additional period of not more than 1 year.
- The minor is ineligible by reason of age for a driver’s license or driving privilege, the court shall direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to withhold issuance of the minor’s driver’s license or driving privilege for not more than 1 year after the date on which he or she would otherwise have become eligible.
- There are also fines in the amount of:
- Not less than $250 for a first conviction.
- Not less than $500 for a second conviction.
- Not less than $1,000 for a third or subsequent conviction.
Any person convicted under this section when the offense is related to the placement of graffiti has to perform at least 40 hours of community service and, if possible, perform at least 100 hours of community service that involves the removal of graffiti!!
PARENTS YOU CAN BE CHARGED FOR YOUR CHILD’S ACT!! Under this statute you can be made to pay your child’s fine! The only way you will not be responsible is to have the Court make a factual finding that you have an inability to pay.
Don’t take a chance! This charge carries several penalties and all of them are expensive and time consuming. If your child has been accused of criminal mischief, vandalism or graffiti in the Orlando area, call the law offices of Finebloom & Haenel now. Our experienced staff can customize a defense for your situation. We are available 24/7 by calling 407-218-6277.