Can My Child Be Tried as an Adult for a Sex Crime?
As a parent, you do everything in your power to protect your child. From the time they are young, you try to teach them how to act and behave appropriately to set them up for a bright, successful future. Unfortunately, there are many times when you cannot protect your child, especially when it comes to facing the consequences of their own actions.
When many people think of a sex crime being committed against a minor in Florida, they usually imagine that the perpetrator is an adult. This is not always the case, as many cases involve minors committing sex crimes against one another. Statistics have shown that over 30% of all sex offenses performed on minors were done by juveniles, mainly young males between the ages of 15 and 17. What does this mean for the underage adolescent who performed the crime, and what does it mean for the victim?
When Juvenile Sex Crimes Become Adult Sex Crimes
In the State of Florida, there are a strict set of rules in place that dictate parameters for juveniles being tried in court as adults. Oftentimes, being tried as a juvenile has advantages that do not apply to adults who are taken to court. Juvenile justice is meant to offer rehabilitation for minors, whereas the adult criminal justice system is formulated strictly as a form of punishment.
The circumstances for these proceedings shifting from a juvenile justice case to a criminal justice case are limited and can include any of the following severe crimes:
- Rape or sexual assault of a minor
- Robbery with a deadly weapon
- Possession of child pornography
- Molestation of a child
Florida courts allow prosecutors to decide whether a juvenile will go to court as an adult, instead of leaving that decision up to the judge. As a guideline for the decision to try a juvenile as an adult, the juvenile in question must be a minimum of 14 years old in cases with a discretionary waiver. Alternately, direct filing is dependent on the crime itself, and no minimum age requirement is in place for capital offenses.
Classification of Sex Crimes in Florida
Across the country, sex crimes are being taken more seriously. Many laws and regulations now classify these actions in order to apply the appropriate punishments for crimes such as:
- Sexual battery
- Sexual battery against a minor
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Unlawful sexual activity with a minor
- Molestation of a minor
- Unnatural or lascivious acts
- Soliciting a minor for prostitution
- Sexual misconduct
Courts in Florida will center the punishment for these crimes based on their severity, but they will also be altered depending on the age and past charges of the underage individual being tried. Courts will weigh the evidence of the situation in order to determine the appropriate penalties that the defendant will face.
Legal Punishment for Juvenile and Adult Sex Crimes
Much evidence and research goes into deciding what the legal punishment is for sex acts committed by juveniles in the State of Florida when the defendant is being tried as an adult. Florida courts have created guidelines to determine these punishments, which can include:
- Registering as a sex offender
- Time in jail or prison
- Fines up to $15,000
- Rehabilitation programs
- Capital felony convictions
It may seem overwhelming to acknowledge the possible consequences of a sex crime that your child might face as a result of their actions. Don’t let the severity of the situation overwhelm you: reach out to a legal professional that can help you develop a defense and peace of mind.
Contact a Trusted Sex Crimes Lawyer in Florida
No one wants to find out that their child has been arrested for a serious crime. It can feel overwhelming, and circumstances like this can be life-changing for entire families. If you’re experiencing this situation, you don’t have to do it alone. The dedicated attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm can help you build a strong defense for your case and reduce some of the stress around your legal dispute.
When your child is facing punishment for a serious crime, your best choice is to reach out to an experienced attorney right away. Give us a call or reach out to us online to find out more information on how we can help you and your family today.