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Jacksonville Juvenile Crimes Attorney

Initial Screening Process

When the defendant is under the age of 18, it is likely their case will end up in juvenile court. One aspect of juvenile cases that sets them apart from adult cases is the involvement of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Before the case ever gets to court, the Department conducts its own review of the facts, interviews the child-defendant and their family, and makes a recommendation to the State Attorney’s Office as to how it believes the case should be resolved. The opportunity to influence and negotiate a particular outcome, short of taking a case to trial, is therefore at its peak during the Department’s initial screening process as prosecutors and judges routinely follow its recommendation.



Another aspect of juvenile cases that makes the early stages so critical is presented when the prosecutor is considering whether to charge a child as an adult. As one may expect, once the decision is made to charge a child as an adult, it is extremely rare that decision is later reversed. A criminal defense attorney can therefore be essential to keeping the case in juvenile court by negotiating with the State Attorney’s Office and the Department on the child’s behalf before any rush to judgment is made.

A Child's Future

Parents sometimes make the mistake of simply taking their child’s word when accused of a crime. This mistake can cost everyone valuable time and the ability to make a difference in the case. While understandable that a parent will believe, and believe in, their child, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure his or her rights are being protected. Children may make mistakes, but they should not be forced to suffer from those mistakes for the rest of their life. A child’s future is perhaps their most valuable commodity and it should be protected accordingly. If your child has been suspected or charged with a crime, contact the Law Office of John M. Phillips for a free consultation to discuss how we can help.


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