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Juvenile Defense

When a young person gets into trouble with the law, the consequences can be serious. If your son or daughter is accused of a crime, the way the case is handled over the next few days, weeks and months can determine the impact that case will have on the child’s education and career opportunities.

If your child is facing any kind of accusation in the juvenile system in Broward County, he or she is entitled to an attorney. Your child’s attorney will represent him or her and help seek the best possible result.

Attorneys for Juvenile Defense in Fort Lauderdale, FL

At Meltzer & Bell, we represent juveniles on any charge they may face. This is a crucial time in your child’s life. You want the best for him or her. Hire a skilled Fort Lauderdale juvenile defense lawyer who understands the juvenile justice system in Broward County, FL.

Your child’s case is important to us. Call for a consultation with one of our experienced partners 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Call us today at (954) 765-6585 to schedule a free consultation.

We represent juveniles in Broward County, including in Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Miramar, Weston, Deerfield Beach and Wilton Manors.

Info for Broward County Children Facing Criminal Charges

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Common Charges for Underage Offenders in Florida

Most acts that would be criminal for an adult will result in serious consequences for a juvenile. In Florida, a juvenile is defined in Florida Statutes Annotated § 985.03 as a person younger than 18 who has been charged with a violation of the law. A juvenile adjudicated to have violated the law has committed a “delinquent” act.

Some criminal charges in Florida law that are age-specific including minor in possession of alcohol (MIP). Others are common charges have special rules. For example, a person younger than 21 may be charged with drunk driving if he or she has a blood/alcohol content level of .02 or higher. This is often called a “zero tolerance DUI.”

Other common charges include drug offenses that might be eligible for juvenile drug court. The prosecutors will the State Attorney’s Office in Broward County, FL, also have special ways of resolving juvenile sex crimes against younger children that are centered around counseling and rehabilitation.

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The Juvenile System in Broward County

If a person younger than 18 is accused of a crime in Broward County, they will be taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center, which is run by the Broward Sheriff’s Office. The Center is located at:

Juvenile Assessment Center
2600 SW 4th Avenue 
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
Phone: (954) 765-4424

At the center, a caseworker will interview the juvenile and his or her family. The caseworker will assess any substance abuse or mental health issues a child might have. The child may be released back into the custody of his or her parents, or may be detained in what is often called “juvenile detention.”

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Consequences of Juvenile Cases

The State Attorney will then determine the next course of action. He or she may drop the charges by entering a “nolle pross.”

The prosecutor might decide to offer to resolve the case in a diversion program. For instance, Broward County has an active Teen Court program. Fellow teens sit on a jury and fill court officer positions. The teen jury makes a decision and decides what sanctions to impose if it finds the juvenile broke the law. Sanctions in Teen Court can include community service and self-improvement courses.

If the state attorney decides to proceed with charges, the court will decide whether or not to adjudicate the juvenile as guilty. If the court finds the young person guilty, he or she may be committed to a residential facility.

However, the court may also find the juvenile guilty but withhold adjudication. If it decides on this option, the child will be placed on a community supervision plan, called a Youth-Empowered Success (YES) Plan.

Your child’s attorney will represent him or her and seek the best possible result. A lawyer is best able to work toward this goal because the attorney understands the system and how to negotiate with the State Attorney’s Office or the court.

Juveniles Traffic Offenses in Broward County, FL

When juveniles 16 or over are accused of committing a traffic violation, those juveniles are not generally placed into custody or detained. Instead, the officer will issue a traffic citation with the following exceptions:

  • Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs;
  • Manslaughter by automobile;
  • Driving after revocation or suspension of license;
  • Leaving the scene of a crash with injuries;
  • Willful and wanton reckless driving and fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer; and
  • Any felony traffic offense.

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Broward County Juvenile Resources

Broward Juvenile Detention Center: The Detention Center is where youth are detained while they are pending adjudication or disposition, or if they are committed to a residential facility.

222 NW 22nd Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311 
Phone: (954) 467-4563
Fax: (954) 327-6361

Teen Court, 17th Circuit: This specialized court is where teens hear the cases of other teens, reach a ruling and if the defendant teen is guilty of the offense, issue sanctions.

The Children’s Campaign: This nonprofit organization advocates for juvenile justice reform in Florida, including expanding diversion programs.

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Finding the Best Broward County Attorney for Child Charges

A skilled Fort Lauderdale juvenile defense lawyer can represent your child if he or she is facing criminal charges in Broward County. At Meltzer & Bell, we will seek the best possible result. Your child’s future is at stake.

Our juvenile defense attorneys are experienced in demanding a speedy trial and filing motions for discharge or motions to dismiss when appropriate. We represent juveniles in criminal and traffic infraction cases as well.

Take action today. Call (954) 765-6585 to schedule a free consultation with our juvenile defense attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

This article was last updated on Friday, March 2, 2018.

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