As adults, we try to protect our children and keep them on the path to becoming productive young adults in society, but as we all know, children can get into trouble and make mistakes. According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, in the 2016-17 fiscal year alone, 64,824 juveniles were arrested for various types of criminal offences including felony, misdemeanor, and “other offenses,” which encompasses crimes such as violation of probation, non-felony traffic offenses, etc. Unfortunately, nearly 40% of those arrests were for felony offenses. While these numbers might seem staggering, it is important to note that juvenile arrests have been declining since 2012.
The 3 Most Common Crimes for Juvenile Offenders
Despite the decline in arrests, the data from the Department of Juvenile Justice indicates that juvenile offenders are arrested more often for certain types of crimes then others. The shocking thing about these statistics is that the crimes that juveniles are arrested for the most are serious and sometimes violent crimes that can result in prison time.
Of the juvenile offenders arrested for felony offenses, burglary of all types accounted for 34% of the arrests in the 2016-17 fiscal year, either as the sole charge or one of the charges. Juvenile offenders often receive reduced sentences or are entered into diversionary programs, because the focus of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, not punishment. However, burglary, depending on the circumstances, can be considered a first, second, or third degree felony that carries with it potential terms of imprisonment and fines that vary depending on the degree of the felony.
Aggravated Assault and/or Battery
Aggravated assault or battery accounted for 16% of the juvenile felony arrests in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Aggravated assault is a third degree felony that carries with it a potential term of imprisonment that cannot exceed five years and fines that cannot exceed $5,000. Aggravated battery on the other hand is considered a more serious crime, because it involves incurring actual physical harm to the victim. Aggravated battery is considered a second degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines that cannot exceed $10,000.
9% of the juvenile felony arrests in the 2016-17 fiscal year were for grand theft. Whether an offender committed petit or grand theft in Florida is determined by the value of the property stolen. Grand theft can be classified as a first, second, or third degree felony, and offenders facing grand theft charges can face prison sentences and fines that vary based on the degree of the felony and the circumstances of the crime.
Factors affecting Juvenile Sentences
Many factors are taken into account with juvenile offenders. The offenders age, criminal history, and the circumstances of the crime are all considered at the time of sentencing, and a large degree of discretion is given to both the judge and the state prosecutor handling the offender’s case. Moreover, the court is left to determine if the child should be charged as an adult or a juvenile.
These factors and others demonstrate why children deserve to have their rights defended by a criminal defense attorney in Winter Park, FL that cares about their well being. If your child has been accused of a crime, call an attorney today.
A juvenile criminal defense attorney, who is serving residents in Orlando and Central Florida, analyzes the three most common crimes committed by juvenile offenders and the juvenile justice system.