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Bill regarding juveniles and certain misdemeanors being considered in Florida

Being accused of a crime, even a relatively minor one, could have very serious ramifications for a kid. This includes the possibility of being brought into criminal proceedings. When a child is in criminal proceedings, what happens in the proceedings could have impacts that could stay with the child for the entirely of their life. This is among the reasons why seeking guidance on their child’s situation, rights and options from an attorney skilled in juvenile defense can be such an important thing for a parent to do promptly after finding out that their child has been accused of a crime.

Given the ramifications being in criminal proceedings can have for a child, a state’s rules on when a child can be exposed to such a situation can be quite impactful indeed. A bill has come before Florida lawmakers that seeks to put a new limit on when a juvenile could face such proceedings in the state.

The proposal regards first offenses of certain nonviolent misdemeanors by juveniles. It would require police in the state to issue civil citations to juveniles for such offenses, rather than putting the juvenile on the path to criminal proceedings for the offense. The civil citation route would be optional for repeat offenses or for misdemeanors other than those specified.

Proponents of this proposed new requirement argue that it could help kids and also help cut down expenses for the state.

The proposal has, however, also had some criticisms leveled against it. Some have raised concerns about what impacts taking discretion away from police when it comes to certain juvenile misdemeanor offenses would have. One concern that has been leveled on this front are worries that the requirement might lead to authorities in the state being more likely to issue felony charges in cases involving juveniles.

What is your opinion of the proposal? What impacts do you think it would have on juveniles in the state if it were to pass?

Source: News4Jax, “Juvenile diversion push gets start in Senate,” Brandon Larrabee, Jan. 23, 2017

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