Monday, September 12, 2011

Florida Juveniles Tried as Adults

St. Petersburg Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses why juveniles may be tried as adults.


A recent Tampa, Florida case highlights how and why juvenile criminal defendants may be tried as adults.

Jared Cano, a 17-year-old accused of plotting to bomb his high school will be tried as an adult.  In this case, the State Attorney’s Office determined that based on the evidence, interviews, and surrounding facts that adult charges were warranted.

While in this case it may be justified, there are many other examples where the decision to try a juvenile as an adult may be called into question.

Why This Matters To You:

The State Attorney’s Office ultimately makes the decision on whether or not to try a juvenile as an adult.  The decision is usually made based on the type of crime, facts surrounding the case, as well as the prior record of the juvenile in question.  When a juvenile is tried as an adult, he or she faces much greater potential punishments than those for juvenile crimes, and if convicted, a permanent adult criminal record.  Additionally, certain pre-trial intervention programs traditionally available to juvenile defendants may not be available to those tried as an adult.

In some cases, a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney can negotiate with the State Attorney’s Office to ensure that the defendant is tried as a juvenile.  This is important to avoid a potential adult criminal record, and the enhanced punishments that typically face adult defendants.  An experienced Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney can use the facts of the case as well as the juvenile defendant’s prior history and school record to avoid the State Attorney’s Office attempting to charge the defendant as an adult.

As is true with all juvenile criminal cases, early intervention and discussions with the State Attorney’s Office by a Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney are important to adequately protect the rights of the juvenile defendant.

What To Do Next:

If your child has been charged with a crime, contact a St. Petersburg Juvenile Crimes Attorney to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your child’s case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss your child’s case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a Free Initial Consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help and has specific knowledge and experience in Juvenile crimes and representing First Time Criminal Offenders throughout Pinellas County and the entire Tampa Bay, FL Area (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Bradenton, Manatee, and Sarasota).