Juvenile Crimes

Lakeland Juvenile Defense Attorney

Juvenile crimes have some serious consequences for minors. These simple mistakes can haunt the child for many years to come. Minors often face the same criminal charges as adults but may be sentenced to milder penalties.

However, severe crimes committed by a juvenile are tried and sentenced as adult offenses. In Florida, state law classifies an individual as a juvenile up to the age of 17. Juvenile court hears many of these cases, especially those violations concerning criminal law. These minor acts are deemed as “delinquent acts.”

In any case, the minor’s parents should contact a Lakeland defense attorney. With the proper defense, the minor could face minimum penalties. Juvenile crimes are different from their adult counterparts. Minors often do not have the psychological, emotional, and mental understanding of the crime’s seriousness. These defense cases need the help of an experienced lawyer, like Robert Zlatkin.

What Are Status Offenses?

Status offenses are minor crimes in Lakeland. Many of these charges are only applicable to minors, such as:

  • Habitual truancy: Under Florida law, if any student misses 15 days of school without a proper excuse, the minor can be charged with truancy. These students must find alternative schooling options or schedule counseling. In most cases, the courts require the minor to complete some community service.
  • Curfew violations: To keep minors from engaging in harmful behavior, Florida requires minors to stay out of public spaces during certain times. A juvenile who violates curfew can receive a written warning as the first offense. Fines and community service are penalties for repeated violations.
  • Possessing alcohol: Any minor in possession of alcohol is guilty of a misdemeanor under Florida state law. In minor cases, the juvenile can face a fine of $500. Repeated offenses may lead to jail time.

Juvenile Crimes in Lakeland

Juvenile offenses are known as either status offenses or delinquency offenses in Florida. Depending on the severity of the offense, these crimes have degrees of penalties.

Delinquency Offenses in Lakeland

Delinquency offenses are a bit more complicated. Many of these offenses would be heard in criminal court if committed by an adult. Some of these offenses include:

  • Theft: For a juvenile, theft of money and property often results in a fine or restitution to the victim. For adults, the penalties could involve fines and jail time.
  • Illegal substance possession: Juveniles found with illicit substances might only have to schedule a few drug counseling sessions. The court may sentence the youth to probation, house arrest, or detention.
  • Harassment: These offenses are more common in today’s culture. Some of these punishments can include counseling and house arrest. If the crime occurred at school, the minor could face suspension from classes.

Informal or Formal Actions in Lakeland

For any case involving a minor, the prosecutors or juvenile court may file either a formal or informal action against the individual. These actions will depend on the severity of the crime.


Informal Action

An informal action only includes a warning for the juvenile. The juvenile is dismissed or released into the parent’s custody. Some cases go before the juvenile courts, but many avoid a formal hearing. These punishments are not part of the minor’s permanent record. Penalties often include restitution, community service, fines, and counseling.


Formal Action

Severe crimes face a formal action. If the prosecutor enters a formal charge, the juvenile court hears the petition. The minor is prosecuted and must appear before the judge. Many of these cases are heard without a jury, but the juvenile may still have an attorney present. Depending on the act, there are several outcomes to these juvenile crimes, including:

  • Pleading guilty or no contest to a lesser charge. The judge may sentence the minor to probation.
  • The court may decide to avert the case. The minor avoids any formal penalties by participating in counseling, community service, rehabilitation, or restitution.
  • The judge may hear arguments about the validity of the crime. This process involves the prosecutor and defense attorney. If the minor is found guilty, the courts or judge can “sustain the petition.”

Your Child Needs Legal Representation in Lakeland

Without the right representation, your child could face a permanent mark on their criminal record. Many of these crimes can even prevent them from obtaining scholarships or jobs in the future. If your child participated in a delinquent act, you need the help of a defense attorney in Lakeland.


With the right attorney, your child will be aware of his or her legal rights. You can find the best options for their defense. If the charges cannot be reduced or dropped, an attorney can help ensure the best defense in the case.


Juvenile crimes are offenses of a unique nature. These minors have made bad decisions. However, that should not affect them for the rest of their lives. Your attorney could seek out alternative sentences, including rehabilitative programs, counseling, and community service.

Experienced Lakeland Defense Attorney on Your Side

When your child has been accused or charged with a juvenile crime, their reputation is at stake. Some opportunities in the future might be limited with a criminal record. You want to contact an experienced lawyer to fight your child’s rights in Lakeland’s juvenile system.


Robert Zlatkin understands juvenile law and will form a defense for your specific case. He can navigate the complicated juvenile justice system. In turn, your child will benefit from experienced representation. From arraignment to adjudicatory hearings, you want to have a Lakeland defense attorney by your side. Contact Robert Zlatkin to schedule a consultation.

Let Robert help you!

If you have any questions, call or email Robert today for a free case review/consultation.

Call : (863) 614-1417

7 days/week 24 hours