Juvenile Criminal Attorney

Juvenile Criminal Law is different than Adult Criminal Law.  There are different rules, different punishments, and different ways to defend your child against charges. A good juvenile criminal attorney knows these differences.

We have been juvenile criminal attorneys for over 15 years.  Stephanie Pawuk was a former juvenile prosecutor in Clearwater, Floirda.  Juvenile criminal charges are handled much differently than adult criminal charges.  You should always hire an attorney with the most experience.

When a juvenile is arrested there are several possible things that can immediately happen

  • The police may call the parents to pick up the child and not arrest him or her.
  • The police may call the parents but give the child a Notice to Appear in court at a later date.
  • The police may call the parents and give the child a recommendation to a non-court diversion program.
  • The police may call the parents before they interview the child, but still arrest him or her and take the child to the Juvenile Detention Center.
  • The police may not call the parents and arrest the child – the first you’ll hear of the arrest will be a call from someone in the Department of Juvenile Justice.
  • If the child is arrested and held at a Juvenile Detention Center, he or she will see a judge within 24 hours.  The judge will make a determination, based on the Department of Juvenile Justice’s recommendation, of whether or not to hold the child.
  • If the child is arrested, he or she may be held – WITHOUT BOND – for 21 days.  This can happen before they are found guilty.

Juvenile Criminal Attorney

How can they hold my child if he or she hasn’t been found Guilty?

Florida Law gives wide power to the agents of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). After arrest, a DJJ worker will interview the child asking questions about drug and alcohol use, school grades and attendance, run away behavior, and prior criminal charges.  If that DJJ worker decides that the child is a “risk”, the child can be held for up to 21 days in the Juvenile Detention Center.  The child can also be held – even if this is the first offense – if the crime is serious.  Grand Theft Auto is one of the crimes where a child would be held for 21 days on the first offense.

How do I get my child out?

It’s not easy.  A good Juvenile Criminal Attorney may be able to make a persuasive argument to the first appearance judge to get your child out.  It all depends on the facts of your child’s case.  We offer free phone consultations on all juvenile charges.

What about Background Checks?

If your child is charged with a crime, even if he never goes to court, you should have the charges sealed or expunged.  With modern technology juvenile criminal records will still show up in a background check, depending upon who does the background check.