If your child has been arrested and charged in the juvenile system for any type of theft charge, they will need an aggressive attorney who is willing to look out for them! At the law office of Finebloom & Haenel, we are available to protect your child’s legal rights and to help guide you and your child through the legal system.
The most common type of theft crime that children are arrested for is petit theft. However, since theft charges are determined by the value of the item taken, grand theft charges are becoming more common. This is because the types of items taken by juveniles are usually electronic devices, such as I-Pods and video games, and these items tend to be expensive. If a minor takes a car without permission for a “joyride,” that is also classified as a “grand theft” charge.
When a child is arrested for a theft 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.
Theft charges are crimes of dishonesty. If your child is adjudicated delinquent for a crime such as this, it can keep them from obtaining some types of employment and may keep them from getting financial aid.
Don’t let your child face this charge alone! At the law offices of Finebloom & Haenel, we are dedicated to preserving the right of our clients. We understand that the system can be overwhelming. We pride ourselves on providing an excellent defense as well as support to all of the people we represent. Let us help you today! If your child has been accused of theft in the Orlando area, call us now at 407-218-6277 for a consultation. We are available 24/7 to explain how we can help you!