I love being a juvenile defense lawyer in Jacksonville FL. It is rewarding to represent children and teenagers in the city in which you live. The majority of these children are middle school or high school students. They attend our local private and public schools in Duval County. A lot of the teenagers will end up at a state college, such as the University of Florida or Florida State. Others will stay involved in the local community and attend the University of North Florida.
As a Jacksonville juvenile attorney, I have the opportunity to help children at a point in their lives that is critical. The decisions that they make now will affect them in the future. It is important that they avoid a Florida criminal record. It is important that they learn that mistakes happen and sometimes you make bad decisions, but wrong choices lead to negative results. However, they are children and children deserve a second chance. Most of the children and teens that I have represented do not re-offend. For many of them, I end up seeing them a second time to seal or expunge their Florida records, and they move on to success.
I recently came across an interesting website about Jacksonville juvenile crimes. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) gives a list of juvenile criminal offenses and separates them into categories. There is a general category and two other categories which list statistics by race and gender. In my practice as a Jacksonville lawyer for juveniles, there are certain crimes that I see more of in children and teens. I will focus on those.
Jacksonville petit theft is popular among children. I usually see this in the form of shoplifting from a retail store. The difference between grand theft and petit theft is $300. This means that if your child is caught stealing items from a store that are valued at less than $300, it is petit theft. If you child is accused of taking $300 or more worth of merchandise, this quickly becomes Jacksonville grand theft. The OJJDP confirms that theft/larceny is a popular offense for juveniles. “In 2010, 77% of all juvenile arrests for Property Crime Index offenses were for larceny-theft. Thus, juvenile Property Crime Index arrest trends largely reflect the pattern of larceny-theft arrests (which itself is dominated by shoplifting—the most common larceny-theft offense).”
I also help a good amount of teenagers with drug charges. These range from Jacksonville possession of paraphernalia to marijuana possession. In some cases, the juvenile may be facing felony charges for possession of cocaine or a controlled substance in Jacksonville FL. The OJJDP reports, “Between 1991 and 1997, the juvenile arrest rate for drug abuse violations increased 138%. The rate declined 26% between 1997 and 2010, but the 2010 rate was 76% more than the 1991 rate.” Although the rate of drug charges has fallen since the 1990s, it is still high with approximately 500 arrests in 2010. Marijuana may not seem like a big deal to teenagers today, but it is. Not only will it create a criminal record, it can also result in a Florida drivers license suspension.
If you son or daughter has been arrested in Duval, Clay, St. Johns, or Nassau County Florida, contact a Jacksonville criminal lawyer with experience representing juveniles. Call 20 Miles Law at (904) 564-2525.