The State can bring criminal charges against persons of varying ages. When a youthful offender is charged with a crime, it is usually done through the juvenile justice system. The benefit of being charged as a minor is that the penalties and punishments are usually less severe than in cases brought against adults. Unfortunately, it is up to the Court whether certain cases proceed in juvenile court or whether the defendant is brought before the Court as an adult.
In Florida, it seems there have been a rash of cases where children are being charged as adults. A human rights report highlights the problems that may arise when kids are made to face criminal charges as an adult:
● The likelihood of repeat offenses rises when youthful offenders are charged as adults.
● Children are not given the opportunity to learn and grow when they are charged with crimes outside the juvenile system. The juvenile justice system’s goal is rehabilitation, and reintegration of the child as a productive member of society.
When a child is not given the chance to learn from their mistakes, the opportunity for growth is missed. This leads to a child having a criminal record that may haunt them for longer than necessary in their adult life, and prevents them from fully rehabilitating. The way the system is supposed to work is that only the most serious of crimes are considered committed by an adult. However, that has not seemed to be the case lately, and the results are alarming. The instance of charging children as adults is one that we should all be aware of, and work to remedy.
For more information about the difference between adult court and juvenile court, call our office. Contact us today schedule an appointment with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Stuart and the Treasure Coast. The first visit is a free initial consultation.