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Juvenile Defense

When a young person gets into trouble with the law, the consequences can be grave and may have a negative impact on the rest of the child's life. If your son, daughter or child you care for is accused of a crime, the next days, weeks and months could determine his or her 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.

Fort Lauderdale Juvenile Defense Lawyer

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., 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 understand the way criminal matters work in Broward County for young people.

Your child's case is important to us, and he or she will have access to one of our experienced partners 24 hours per day, seven days per week. We would never pass your child's case on to a less experienced associate. Call us today at (954) 716-8538 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, defined in Florida Statutes Annotated § 985.03 as 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.

There are some criminal charges in Florida law that are age-specific. These include minor in possession of alcohol (MIP).

Others are common charges, but 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 and sex crimes.


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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:

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

At the center, a case worker will interview the juvenile and his or her family. They 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," or "juvy."


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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, or "nolle pross" them.

He or she may also decide to allow the youth be admitted to a diversion plan. 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 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 he or she understands the system and can advocate to the State Attorney or the court.


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Broward County Juvenile Resources

Broward Juvenile Detention Center: The 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, P.A., we will seek the best possible result. Your child's future is at stake. Take action today. Call (954) 716-8538 to schedule a free consultation.