As a parent, it is frightening to find out that Florida leads the nation when it comes to arrested juveniles being charged as adults. There is a statute in Florida called “direct file” that sends children into the adult system at rates not seen in other states.

When your child is arrested, you are immediately thrown into a stressful situation. That situation is quickly made worse when your child is tried as an adult. Here is more of what you need to know about the law in our state.

Factors That Determine Adult Status

When a child is put on trial, they are granted certain rights that adults are not. As soon as the trial moves into adult court, those rights are waived. There are several factors that the prosecutor considers when determining whether or not to treat the minor as an adult in the legal system.

  • The minor was 16 or 17 years old at the time of the commission of the crime. The current charge is of a violent nature, and the child has already been through juvenile court for a previous crime.
  • The 16 or 17-year-old has been charged with a forcible felony.
  • The child stole a vehicle and in the commission of that crime, caused great injury or death to the victim or another.
  • The child is 16 or 17, has been charged with aggravated assault, burglary, sexual battery, arson, kidnapping, etc.

What Can Happen?

If your child is tried as an adult, any rights they have as a juvenile are waived. They are treated the same way any other adult would be. Your child will face the same penalties that an adult would face. That could mean life in prison depending on the crime.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

The answer to this question is, “Absolutely.” Children are frequently tried as adults in Florida, meaning that you need to secure legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help guide you and your child through the legal process and mount an appropriate defense.

If your child has been charged with a crime in Orlando, call our office. A member of our team will provide you with a free initial case evaluation and advise you of your next steps. Call now for assistance.

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