Articles Posted in Juveniles

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A 17-year-old Leesburg teen, who was expelled from Tavares High School for allegedly inappropriately touching female students, was arrested Friday for doing the same thing, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The teen was charged with two counts of simple battery and trespassing. He remained in the Lake County jail Monday in lieu of $15,000 bail.

According to an arrest affidavit, the teen was a student at Tavares High, but was previously expelled for inappropriately touching female students. He was also trespassed from the facility.

He is accused of returning to the school on Friday at 7:15 a.m. where he allegedly hugged random girls.

“Statements were provided that he was asking the victims for ‘hugs,’ then he would grab their butts, and run his face in their breast area and try to kiss them …,” according to the affidavit.

The teen was arrested at 8:30 a.m.

He is scheduled for a court arraignment on Feb. 25.

Having a criminal conviction at a young age can negatively affect your child’s life for many years to come. Not only could they be facing jail time, but he or she could be denied college acceptances, driving privileges, jobs, student loans and other types of financial aid. A criminal conviction could even lead to your child getting suspended or expelled from school.

Juvenile Court is quite different from the adult legal system, but you need a Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer to help guide you through the system. There are things you need to know, like when your child will be released to you, the potential punishments and how the charge could impact the rest of your child’s life.

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The State Attorney’s Office has made the decision to charge a Marion County juvenile as an adult for a robbery that happened last month.

According to jail records, at 12:01 a.m. on a Friday night, on his 18th birthday, a teen was charged with robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a delinquent and carrying a concealed firearm.

6444319887_9045628534_zThe teen and another 16-year-old juvenile were taken into custody Nov. 17 after they were accused of robbing a man in Silver Springs Shores the day before.

The alleged victim told sheriff’s deputies he was approached by two people, each armed with a handgun, when one of them took his cell phone, ear buds and wallet.

His description of the two teens lead to their arrest.

The 18-year-old’s court date is scheduled for Jan. 13.

When it comes to juvenile crimes, it is up to the court to decide whether the juvenile case is transferred to adult criminal court. The court considers many factors when making its choice, including the nature of the crime and the juvenile’s previous delinquent history. If the case is transferred to adult court, the juvenile will be subject to the law in the same manner as an adult.

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State Attorney Angela Corey announced Thursday afternoon that she is prosecuting a 13-year-old boy accused of second-degree murder of a homeless Jacksonville man as an adult.

This is the second time she’s charged a young juvenile with murder.

The 54-year-old homeless man was found dead in a shopping center parking lot on 103rd Street in June. Police said he was shot in the head.

A month later they arrested the then-12-year-old juvenile after a 16-year-old friend was charged in an armed robbery and motor vehicle theft and implicated him.

A grand jury indicted the boy Thursday in the homeless man’s death allowing the adult charges to be filed by the State Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors did not provide a motive for the killing and they did not discuss the case in detail or explain why they filed second-degree murder charges.

According to police, surveillance videos showed the youths at the scene. There was no apparent motive for the shooting, it was described as spontaneous.

Corey said her reasoning for trying the boy as an adult is because even if he was convicted of murder in juvenile court, he could be released in as few as 18 months, but he would have to be released in 36 months.

In the meantime the boy is being housed in the Duval County jail in a wing for juvenile defendants.

The juveniles are not housed with adult offenders even though they are in adult jail. There are 10-minute checks by corrections officers and a school inside the facility.

Juvenile crime is defined as any illegal act that is committed by an individual who is under the age of 18. In most cases, juvenile crimes are governed by a separate court system, with a separate set of rules from the adult court system. However, as this case shows, there are some cases where a minor will be charged as an adult. The main factor in deciding how the juvenile will be tried all boils down to the type of crime that has been committed. In recent years, there has been increased regularity of minors in Florida and across the country being tried and punished as adults due to the types of crimes that have been committed.

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Law enforcement agencies from Hendry and Lee counties were sent on a manhunt Thursday after it was reported three teenage boys had allegedly stolen a car from Lee County.

Officials claim the trio took the vehicle on a joyride that eventually ended in Pioneer Plantation in Central Hendry County.

The three young men allegedly drove the vehicle from Lee County to Pioneer Plantation, where they stopped at the Shell Station located at the intersection of Hendry Isles Boulevard and State Road 80. Reports indicate that the trio then attempted to rob another man by putting a gun to his side, demanding money from him.

home burglaryAccording to police, the victim refused to give up his bank bag and instead grabbed the barrel of the gun. The trigger of the gun was allegedly pulled three times, but failed to fire.

According to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office, the men then ran into a wooded area and were flushed out by K-9 units after a two and a half hour search.

All three suspects were taken into custody. Deputies are still questioning two suspects in the case, but one 17-year-old has been charged with attempted armed robbery, attempted carjacking, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated assault with a firearm, destruction/tampering with evidence, petit theft and grand theft.

Several agencies helped with locating the three suspects, including Hendry County deputies and K-9 units, Clewiston Police Department K-9 units, Lee County Sheriff’s Office deputies, K-9 units and helicopter, as well as the Florida Highway Patrol.

Juvenile crimes are prosecuted at a very high rate. In the state of Florida and across the country there is an increasing trend for juveniles to be tried in adult court. It is quite common today to see 16 and 17-year-old children being charged as adults.

A robbery charge can bring about serious penalties for a young offender. In the state of Florida, if a person is possession of a firearm when committing a crime or even when attempting to commit a crime, then the 10-20-Life statute can be applied. Anyone convicted under the 10-20-Life statute is ineligible for gain-time and must complete the entire 10 year prison term without the possibility of early release.

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Disney Channel star Billy Unger was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of drunk driving after he was stopped in his Nissan Altima on Pacific Coast Highway, according to authorities.

Unger is best known for his role on the Disney sitcom “Lab Rats.”  He was reportedly going 65 mph in a 45 mph zone on PCH around 12:10 a.m. Saturday when he was pulled over near Las Tunas Beach, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

The arresting officer approached the 18-year-old actor’s Altima and claims he could immediately smell the odor of alcohol.

nissan keyThe officer also alleges that Unger’s eyes were bloodshot and watery.

Unger’s blood alcohol level was reportedly 0.08, right at the legal limit for an adult, and he allegedly did not pass a sobriety test. He was immediately arrested for suspicion of drunk driving.

Unger was later issued a citation and released on his own recognizance, which is standard procedure in DUI cases.

The detective did mention that Unger was very cooperative.

Unger issued the following statement Monday on Twitter:

“As I move forward responsibly in this matter, I simply ask the public, and more importantly my fans, to reserve judgment and allow the opportunity for me to address this issue properly through the legal system.”

When a driver under the age of 21 is pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida, they can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content is .02 percent or higher. While the legal limit for driving for those over the age of 21 is .08 percent, Florida has a strict zero tolerance policy for underage drivers that choose to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking.

If you are charged with underage drinking and driving, you face a license suspension. For any underage driver that submits to a breath test and blows a .02 or higher, their driver’s license will be suspended for six months with a 30 day hard suspension following a first time DUI arrest. This means that the driver cannot drive anywhere for any reason for those 30 days. Following the hard suspension period, the driver may be able to obtain a hardship license for “business purposes only” or for “employment purposes only.” Now, if the underage driver refuses to submit to a breath, blood or urine test then their driver’s license will be suspended for one year with a 90 day hard suspension.

Additionally, if you are arrested for underage drinking and driving and your blood alcohol content was .05 percent or higher then you must complete a DUI program.

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Florida will have 159 new laws starting Tuesday that address various issues, including college tuition, corporate tax credits, abortions and sex offenders.

One of the most prevalent laws is one that aims to protect children and others from dangerous sex offenders. The laws are intended to keep the most violent sexual offenders locked up longer and close any loopholes in a law that allows the state to send predators to a high-security treatment center once they have served their time in prison. The new laws will subject more offenders to potential civil commitment and prosecutors, detectives and victim advocates will be part of the committee that reviews their cases.

The sexually violent predator package of bills was among the first of the legislature sent to Gov. Rick Scott during the 60-day session that ended in May. The new laws are meant to create a better child welfare system in Florida. As of now, Florida is the only state in America that has a 50-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for violent sexual offenders.

gavelAnother law that seeks to protect children concerns the Department of Children and Families. The law changes how the department investigates and responds to cases; now placing a higher emphasis on shielding a child from abuse rather than focusing on keeping a family together. Moreover, the law also pays for 270 additional child protective investigators so that caseloads can be reduced and a response team can be sent out quickly to investigate child abuse deaths when the child had previous dealings with the system.

Another law will establish a statewide pilot program to pay for foster children’s driver’s education classes, license fees and car insurance so that they can be better prepared to gain employment when they turn 18 and leave the system.

The children of immigrants in the country illegally will now be able to receive in-state tuition at state universities after Scott changed his position on the issue. Another bill will give tuition breaks to honorably discharged veterans as well as waive professional licensing fees for them.

Local school boards now have the responsibility of selecting textbooks, whether or not they are on a state-adopted list, and will be required to put policies in place that allow parents to object to the books they choose.

Another new law took effect on June 20 that expands a voucher program, giving corporate tax credits to companies that provide money for low-income families to send their children to private schools.

As far as criminal laws go, there will be increased penalties for spiny lobster poachers, people leaving the scene of an accident that causes injury and people who illegally sell prescription drugs. Additionally, electronic cigarette sales to minors are now illegal in Florida. Another law forbids sending text messages soliciting products to residents on the state’s “no sales solicitation calls” list.

Florida has also changed its definition for its late-term abortion ban. Abortions will be illegal in Florida at any stage in a woman’s pregnancy if her doctor concludes that the fetus could survive outside the womb. The previous law banned abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. An exception can be made to this law if the mother’s life is at risk.

Lastly, new laws will create a Florida Tourism Hall of Fame and the position of state poet laureate to promote poetry in Florida.

Laws across the United States are constantly changing. When you have been accused of committing a crime in Florida, only a Florida Trial Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can provide you with the legal representation that you need. While many attorneys are quick to negotiate with prosecutors to obtain a plea bargain instead of pursuing trial, our Florida Criminal Attorneys know that sometimes trial is the best option for your situation. We thoroughly evaluate every case and will always advise you of your best legal defense strategy.

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Two juveniles linked to a string of house burglaries in Maitland were arrested on Wednesday, according to police reports.

Maitland police claim the two are also connected to numerous other break-ins in Orange and Seminole counties.

Some stolen items, which included electronics, purses and televisions, were recovered at the suspects’ homes, according to police.

The burglaries allegedly started in Maitland on June 6.

home burglaryThe suspects have been taken into custody and were transported to the Maitland Police Department for further questioning.

No further information has been disclosed regarding the alleged burglaries.

Juvenile criminal cases are handled differently than those of adults. The criminal courts recognize that those under the age of 18 are often unable to comprehend their behaviors and actions or understand the consequences in the same way as an adult’s brain does. Because of this, the court system puts an emphasis on rehabilitation when it comes to handling these cases.

Just like adults, a minor can invoke their right to remain silent and their right to a juvenile defense attorney. This is very important because an attorney should be contacted before a minor has any interactions with police. Understand that police are not required to tell the truth when questioning minors, so they often try to employ tactics that trick juveniles into giving incriminating statements.

An Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can help you if your child has been accused of or charged with a criminal offense. When it comes to your child’s defense, our main goal is to preserve your child’s record so he or she can walk away from this experience without suffering long-term effects. We know that keeping children out of the criminal justice system is central for protecting their future.

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According to reports released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Wednesday, crime in Broward and Palm Beach counties took a plunge in 2013 and stayed in line with the state’s total decrease in criminal offenses.

In its 2013 Annual Uniform Crime Report, the state agency concludes that criminal activity, ranging from rapes and murders to robberies and burglaries, have steadily dropped in Florida over the past five years.

The overall crime rate fell by about seven percent in Broward County. With that said, the report relays that there were 46 more forcible rapes in 2013 compared to 2012. The biggest category of crimes to drop was robberies, decreasing by about 13 percent.

crime sceneIn Palm Beach County, the overall crime rate plunged by about three percent in 2013. Conversely, there were nearly 100 more vehicle thefts than in 2012.

FDLE computed the same number of murders in 2012 and 2013 in both counties — 80 in Broward and 74 in Palm Beach.

When you are charged with a crime in Florida, the consequences can be devastating. Criminal charges have the ability to haunt you for the rest of your life, sometimes going as far as limiting your ability to find a job, own or rent a home and even maintain or build new relationships. Even if you do not serve any jail time, a criminal conviction can still negatively impact your life.

A criminal investigation can progress rather quickly. What you may think is nothing right now could lead to your arrest tomorrow. The sooner you involve a criminal lawyer with your charges, the better the outcome for you. A South Florida Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton can thoroughly analyze every aspect of your case and begin evaluating possible defenses and strategies right away. From early on, we will look for ways to help you avoid a criminal conviction.

We handle all of the following types of criminal cases, including:

  • Sex offenses, including rape, child molestation, child pornography, prostitution, indecent exposure, child abuse and sexual assault
  • Drug crimes, including possession, sale, distribution, grow house and trafficking
  • Violent crimes, including kidnapping, burglary, assault, battery, robbery, domestic violence, murder, manslaughter and weapons charges
  • White Collar Crimes, such as Internet crimes, fraud, forgery, identity theft and RICO
  • Juvenile Offenses
  • DUI Charges, including DUI Manslaughter and DUI Serious Bodily Injury

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A Manatee High School quarterback was arrested Monday night and is facing charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a 15-year-old girl.

According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the 17-year-old was arrested at 8:13 p.m. Monday. The girl apparently  reported the alleged incident to law enforcement earlier that day.

Investigators believe that the teen and the alleged victim attended a party Saturday where they both drank alcoholic beverages. The two apparently began kissing and the girl claims she told the boy to stop, according to a sheriff’s office report.

teen arrestedThe report states that the teen grabbed the alleged victim, pulled her into the bathroom, turned off the lights and locked the door. Once inside the bathroom, the girl claims that the boy tried taking her pants off but she asked him to stop.

Following his arrest, the teen allegedly admitted to having some sexual contact with the girl but denied raping her, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to a Manatee County school district spokesman, the teen will be re-assigned to an alternative school until this matter is resolved. School district officials will cooperate with law enforcement’s investigation, but will make no comments until the case is settled.

This teen’s arrest comes just a year after unprecedented legal scrutiny involving Manatee High School athletics.

A former running backs coach is scheduled for trial on June 2 involving one of seven misdemeanor charges of battery involving former female students and school employees as well as three misdemeanor charges of interfering with a student’s attendance. He has pleaded not guilty and will receive separate trials for the charges.

Former Manatee High School principal and former assistant principals are all facing charges of failure to report child abuse in the same case involving the former coach.

Lewd and lascivious battery cases are rarely witnessed first-hand by anyone other than the alleged victim and the accused, so the prosecution usually relies on circumstantial evidence and unreliable accusations of the victim. In many cases, these allegations are exaggerated or completely fabricated. When these cases involve a juvenile that is accused of touching another minor in an inappropriate way they are usually tried in juvenile court. However, depending on the age of the accused, the State Attorney’s Office could very well file these charges in adult court. Due to the serious nature of these charges and the severe potential consequences, parents should never allow their child to discuss these allegations with anyone, including prosecutors and law enforcement, before obtaining experienced legal representation.

In Florida, lewd and lascivious battery is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison when the accused is 18 years old and the alleged victim is between the ages of 12 and 15. When a juvenile who is less than 18 years old is charged with lewd and lascivious battery and the alleged victim is between the ages of 12 and 15, then the crime can be charged as a third-degree felony punishable by 5 years in state prison. Any person convicted of this crime would be declared sexual offender and be forced to comply with sexual offender registration laws in Florida and throughout the United States.

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A bar popular with college students in downtown Boca Raton was the scene of two fights earlier this month, and has been the place of nearly a hundred arrests since its opening last June, according to Boca Raton police records.

Police are now saying that the high number of disturbances at 101 Cantina in downtown Boca must be dealt with.

The bar’s Boca Raton location had its grand opening party on June 8, 2013. Since then, officers have responded to 92 calls for service for incidents including fights, vandalism, beverage violations and other disturbances, according to police records.

The total number of arrests at this point is 98. Of the total arrests, the majority are due to underage drinking.

bar hoochIn fact, according to police records, 78 of the 98 arrests were for possession of alcohol by a minor. While underage drinking charges do not generally result in the suspect being taken to jail, police still give suspects notices to appear in court at a later date, which counts as an arrest.

The suspects arrested at 101 Cantina range in age from 17 to 20. Police claim they are working with state regulators and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office to address issues at the bar.

As for the two fights earlier this month, one involved an 18-year-old Boca Raton man who was allegedly jumped by a group of about six to eight males as he was leaving, according to the incident report. Police noted that “there were over 200 people in the area” when the fight happened, and no witnesses were able to describe the suspects. No arrests have been made.

The second fight, apparently happened at about 2:30 a.m. and resulted in the arrest of a 21-year-old man who faces a charge of causing a disturbance.

In the state of Florida, it is considered illegal for any person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcoholic beverages. A conviction for underage drinking can vary depending on the details of the case, but maximum penalties generally include up to 60 days in jail and a fine up to $500. In addition to time behind bars and fines, the defendant could also face driver’s license suspension or revocation. In order to protect yourself from the strict consequences that come along with an underage drinking conviction, you must act quickly and enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney.

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