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My Child Was Arrested—Now What?

Protect your child's freedom; contact a lawyer right away after a juvenile arrest.

Having your child arrested can feel like the end of the world. Parents often have a lot of questions, including - How did this happen?

A Jacksonville teen waits in a jail cell after an arrest.

However, one question must be addressed right away: My child has been arrested - Now what? A lot happens in the first 24 hours after a juvenile arrest. You must act fast and know what to do for the best outcome possible. Juvenile crimes are just as serious as adult crimes. A criminal conviction can result in incarceration and send your child down a dangerous path.

Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. has more than 30 years of experience providing criminal defense to juveniles in Northeast Florida. If you contact us soon after an arrest, we can get to work protecting your child's rights and freedom before the system finalizes decisions about treatment and detention.

If your child was arrested in Clay County or elsewhere in Northeast Florida, contact us for a free case consultation. In the meantime, here is what you need to know about juvenile arrests in Florida.

My kid was arrested - Now what?

More than 19,000 juveniles were arrested about 31,600 times in Florida last year. This includes 16 juvenile arrests in Clay County and 76 in St. John's County. Among those arrested, about 55 percent were charged with felonies, according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Juveniles (people under age 18) can mostly be prosecuted for the same crimes as adults. When police officers arrest a juvenile, they must have evidence to charge the youth with a crime.

Last year's 12 most common charges filed against juveniles are listed below by frequency starting with the least cited violation:

  1. Grand larceny - felony.
  2. Disorderly conduct - misdemeanor.
  3. Drug offense - misdemeanor.
  4. Trespassing - misdemeanor.
  5. Resisting arrest - misdemeanor.
  6. Drug offense - felony.
  7. Petit larceny - misdemeanor.
  8. Weapons offense - felony.
  9. Auto theft - felony.
  10. Aggravated assault or battery - felony.
  11. Burglary - felony.
  12. Simple assault or battery - misdemeanor.

Other charges Florida juveniles faced in 2021 include armed robbery, vandalism, alcohol offenses, sexual battery, loitering, murder or manslaughter, and arson.

Steps in the Florida Juvenile Arrest and Detention Process

  1. The arrest: After a child is arrested, they may be taken to the police station, likely for questioning, or a juvenile assessment center (JAC) for intake.
  2. The police station: If they are at the police station, it's possible the police want to, or already are, interviewing your child. Call the police department of the officer who arrested your child right away. Tell them that you do not give them permission to interview your child and that you intend to hire a lawyer. This puts officers on notice that they are not going to be able to push your child or your family around. Your child has a right to remain silent and does not have to answer any police questions without a parent, guardian, or lawyer present.
  3. Intake: If they were not directly transported there, police will eventually bring a child accused of "delinquent behavior" to the local JAC. The child will go through the "intake" process at this facility. They will be assessed for treatment needs and placement in the system. In Clay County, the JAC is located at 1283 East 8th Street in Jacksonville. The St. John's JAC is at 2840 Old Deland Road in Daytona Beach. Both facilities are near regional juvenile detention centers, aka "lockup" or "juvie."
  4. The hearing: In Florida, a review hearing must be conducted by a judge within 24 hours of a juvenile's arrest. At this hearing, charges could be dismissed, your child may be placed under supervised release (house arrest, for example), or kept in detention. Supervised release may require electronic monitoring and checking in with the day and/or evening reporting center, among other things. This hearing may also determine whether your child is tried as an adult for an alleged crime.
  5. JPO: Your child will most likely be assigned a juvenile probation officer or JPO. This person will contact the parent or guardian to discuss your child's service needs. They may make recommendations to the court about your child's needs and progress.
  6. Detention: If a judge decides to keep your child in custody until their court date or another event, they will likely be held at the Jacksonville Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center or the Volusia facility in Daytona Beach.

When your child's freedom is at stake, experience matters.

A former Floria prosecutor, Attorney Mark Sieron understands how the juvenile system works. He knows how to successfully argue in front of veteran juvenile judges. If a law firm does not have extensive experience working with juvenile judges, they may not be the best fit to defend your child against charges.

If your juvenile son or daughter was arrested and charged with a crime in Northeast Florida, contact Aguilar & Sieron for a free case consultation. Learn more about how the law applies to your situation, the penalties your child may face, and potential defense strategies. We can also explain whether you may be held liable for the alleged damage.

With an experienced Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney from Aguilar & Sieron on your side, you can put your energy into supporting your son or daughter. We will investigate the case and provide the best possible defense for your child. Contact us for a free case consultation right now.

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