As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer and juvenile attorney, I speak with children, teenagers, and college students often about crimes. It is important to explain to them the laws, penalties, and consequences that they may face in the future if they commit certain crimes. For example, a misdemeanor Florida possession of marijuana charge may seem like a minor crime, but it is something that could show up on a Florida criminal background check in the future. It is also important that they understand the difference between burglary and theft in Florida. A Jacksonville petit theft charge is a misdemeanor, but this can change quickly if the offense is really a burglary. I recently read an article about a case in Clay County. In this case, two teens were stealing packages from the porches of people’s houses. While they may have believed that they were “just stealing” a box, it is much more serious than that. This is a burglary to a dwelling which is a second-degree felony.
First Coast News of Jacksonville reported the story. After residents of a neighborhood had UPS packages stolen from their houses, they decided to make a community attempt to get to the bottom of this. “Two neighbors in the Oakleaf Plantation area decided to post their grievance on a community Facebook page. The response they received included others voicing their concerns and frustrations.” One neighbor was able to check a surveillance video and find evidence of the burglary. According to First Coast News:
“On the surveillance video you can see two young men walk from door to door snooping around people’s homes. One of them takes off his shirt at a point walks out of frame and shirtless he reappears with a package under his arm covered by a t-shirt. [A] women recognized the young men in the video and turned over the information they gathered along with the surveillance video to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. Two teenagers, ages 16 and 17, were arrested and charged with burglary…. According to a Clay County police report one of the women’s packages was found and returned to her.”
These children may have not understood the gravity of the situation. What may have started off as a prank, led to Florida burglary charges. Also, we should presume them innocent as the law requires. The teens that were arrested may have been falsely accused. These teens will now be facing felonies in a Florida juvenile delinquent court. They will need help from a Clay County juvenile lawyer defending their cases. They may also need separate juvenile criminal defense attorneys due to a conflict of interested between the two defendants.