Miami Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child is facing prosecution for a juvenile offense, it is critical to consult with an experienced Miami juvenile criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure your child’s rights are protected. You need a juvenile law lawyer with experience defending a felony or misdemeanor charge in juvenile court to guide you through the process and maximize your chances of resolving your case with a favorable outcome.

You Want the Best for Your Child

As a parent, you want the best for your children.

You have worked hard to provide for them, sacrificed for them, and did your best to guide them, teach them and protect them.

Seeing them arrested or facing prosecution in juvenile court is painful, given all the hard work, energy, and sacrifice you have made to provide your son or daughter with the best foundation possible for a successful life.

While the immediate concern of protecting your child’s liberty is paramount, you fear the lasting consequences a juvenile case can have on their future. As a parent, a thousand worries and concerns race through your mind:

  • Will this cause my child to be suspended or expelled from their school?
  • Will it prevent them from getting scholarships?
  • Will it make them ineligible for financial aid?
  • Will it keep them from getting into college?
  • Will it prevent them from getting a good job?

As a parent, you need to immediately hire an experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer in Miami to protect your substantial investment in your child‘s future.

What Happens if My Child is Arrested in Miami?

Juveniles taken into custody for law violations in Miami may be released to their parents/guardians or brought to the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) located at 275 NW 2nd St., Miami, FL. If the officer releases the juvenile to a parent or guardian, they will later submit the case for review by the State Attorney’s Office. If the officer takes the youth to the JAC, JAC personnel will send the child’s case to the State Attorney’s Office the same day for review. 

In Miami, the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department operates the JAC. When an alleged juvenile offender arrives, Juvenile Services employees will screen them to determine whether they need to be held in secure detention, placed on home detention, or released to their parent/guardian. If the child is detained, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice will transport the juvenile to the Miami Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center, located at 3300 NW 27th Avenue, Miami, FL, where they will remain until their detention hearing the following day. Juveniles placed on home detention will be released to their parent/guardian. However, they will still have a detention hearing the following day so the judge can review the case for probable cause and whether continued home detention is appropriate.

Juvenile Detention and Detention Hearings in Miami

The purpose of the detention hearing is for the judge:

  • To explain to the child and his parent or guardian the charges against them; 
  • Determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe that the child committed the juvenile crime which brought them before the court;
  • To appoint the Public Defender if the family cannot afford an attorney;
  • To schedule the youth’s trial, which is called an adjudicatory hearing in the juvenile system; and
  • Determine whether the child should continue to be detained.

Usually, juveniles can’t be detained for more than 21 days unless their adjudicatory hearing has begun or the judge has granted a continuance. An experienced juvenile law attorney will safeguard your child’s rights to ensure they aren’t detained illegally.

Possible Filing of Charges in Adult Court

Under certain circumstances at the detention hearing, the State Attorneys Office will announce their intent to review a case for possible transfer (“direct file”) to adult court as a criminal case. The court will set the case for a report hearing for the State to announce its filing decision. If a child is in custody, the hearing will be set for 21 days from the day the child was first detained. The juvenile attorney you choose to represent your child must have the necessary experience to increase the chances of keeping your child’s case in the juvenile system.

Differences Between Juvenile Court and Adult Court

There are no juries in the juvenile system. That means that a judge decides at the adjudicatory hearing whether the juvenile is delinquent (guilty) or not delinquent (not guilty). Like in adult court, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the minor has committed a delinquent act. The case ends if the judge decides that the State Attorney’s Office failed to prove their case. If the judge finds the child committed the juvenile crime, the court may move forward with the disposition (sentencing) or set the case for a disposition hearing (sentencing hearing).