Every teenager is bound to get into some trouble, says Broward County criminal lawyer William Moore. Even the best kids who do not have prior disciplinary problems can find themselves before a juvenile judge in deliquency proceedings, which is like criminal court for adults. However, in addition to the crimes an adult can be charged with, juveniles face other possible delinquency issues, says Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney Moore. These are often called “status crimes,” meaning that there is something particular about the person’s status – in this case, the age of the youth – that makes the act criminal. For example, if your teenager is arrested or placed in juvenile delinquency proceedings for purchasing or smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products, that is a status crime. Likewise, underage drinking, the purchase of alcohol by people under the age of 21 years, and truancy from school are other status crimes.
Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer Moore notes that another common issue young people face is drug charges. Many teenagers experiment with alcohol and drugs, such as marijuana. If your teen is found at school with a small amount of marijuana, whether or not it was actually even his, he could have serious issues with both the juvenile court system and with his school.
The ultimate goal of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate kids and get them back on the right path. That’s one reason why juvenile offenses do not usually show up on a person’s criminal record when he or she becomes an adult. This policy is with good reason: the 14-year-old caught smoking cigarettes in the bathroom at school might become at 25-year-old teacher who should not be judged by youthful indiscretions. Particularly serious crimes may result in adult charges, a practice which is probably more common in Florida than most other states. For example, a 17-year-old who commits a burglary with a weapon might be charged as an adult, especially if he already has a lengthy juvenile record.
Broward criminal lawyer William Moore has years of experience in criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor conviction of any type can have far-reaching consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested in south Florida, contact William Moore, P.A., with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.