Pensacola Defense Lawyers

What Are the Consequences for Crimes Committed by Minors During Spring Break?

Posted on Friday, March 29th, 2019 at 12:52 pm    

Every spring, thousands of vacationers and tourists make their way to Pensacola to enjoy boating, jet skiing, and other fun Spring Break activities. Although Spring Break is a time to enjoy the beach and Florida’s vibrant nightlife, arrests for DUI, drinking in public, and drug possession increase significantly during this time of year. If you are visiting the state of Florida for Spring Break this year, you need to be aware that police will be cracking down on these types of crimes, and if you are minor who gets arrested, you can end up facings serious consequences.

Minor in Possession

Many minors come to Florida to partake in Spring Break with the older college crowds. Although they may not realize it, a conviction for possession of drugs or alcohol as a minor can end up being a huge ordeal that can substantially impact the rest of their life.

For one, a first time offense for minor in possession (MIP) can result in fines of up to $500 and imprisonment for 60 days. In Florida, a first-offense for MIP is treated as a second-degree misdemeanor, which means it will stay on your criminal record. If you get a second MIP offense, you can be fined up to $1,000 and be jailed for 1 year.

In addition to these penalties, the court can order the DMV to suspend or revoke your driver’s license for up to one year. It is important to note that you can be charged for MIP even if you are caught with an unopened alcoholic beverage.

If you are arrested for minor in possession during Spring Break, it can negatively impact your ability to:

  • Secure gainful employment
  • Apply for loans
  • Find housing

Speak to a Pensacola Criminal Defense Attorney

Have you or someone you know been arrested for minor in possession of alcohol, drugs, or fake ID’s? Are you worried about how these charges might affect your future? At the Morris Firm, PLLC, our team of experienced lawyers is committed to protecting the rights of minor clients throughout the state of Florida. We have the skills and resources you need to secure the justice you deserve. Let us put our skills to work for you today.

Call (850) 427-6514 to schedule your case evaluation with a member of our law firm.

When Can a Minor Be Charged as an Adult in Florida?

Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2019 at 12:50 pm    

Juveniles Tried as Adults in Florida Criminal Cases

Juveniles are typically charged & tried as an adult when the crime is severe enough, examples include: robbery with a deadly weapon, homicide, rape, etc. Because Florida doesn’t establish a minimum age requirement a minor as young as 12 can be entered into the adult court system.

Florida leads the country in charging minors as adults. The factors which determine whether your child will face the criminal justice system include his/her age, past criminal history, the seriousness of the offense, and other relevant factors.

While the juvenile justice system is designed to rehabilitate minors who could correct their behavior and avoid becoming a criminal in the future, the criminal justice system is meant to punish criminals. Keep in mind, the courts favor sending minors to juvenile court, unless the alleged crime is especially heinous in nature.

The following are the ways a juvenile’s case may be transferred to adult court:

  • Direct file – The “direct file” statute is responsible for 98 percent of all children in Florida ending up in the criminal justice system. This rule enables prosecutors to refer to a minor’s case from juvenile court to adult court without obtaining a judge’s or jury’s approval. There are two types of direct file: discretionary and mandatory. The former allows prosecutors to file charges for specific felonies against a child who is 14 years of age or older, while the latter relates to certain offenses a child 16 years old or older commits. However, there is no minimum age for capital offenses which are punishable by life imprisonment or death.
  • Waiver – There are three types of waivers: involuntary discretionary, involuntary mandatory, and voluntary. An involuntary discretionary waiver occurs when the prosecutor may file a motion, asking the court to transfer a child’s case to adult court. An involuntary mandatory waver allows a prosecutor to request a transfer a child’s case to adult court since the minor is charged with a second or another violent crime and was previously obtained a delinquent adjudication. A voluntary waiver means a child requests moving his/her trial to adult court.
  • Indictment – If a minor—no matter what age—is charged with a crime which carries a death or life imprisonment sentence, the State can seek a grand jury indictment.

Once a prosecutor decides to try a minor in adult court, the child’s rights will be waived during the trial process. Minors in the criminal justice system will face the same penalties as adults.

Waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of your phone ringing and finding out your child has been arrested is a parent’s worst nightmare. After attempting to figure out what your son or daughter did to end up behind bars, your next thought might be whether he or she can be charged as an adult.

If your child has been arrested in Pensacola, contact our experienced criminal defense attorney at the Morris Firm today and let our firm protect your child’s rights and future.