Florida Bill Would Give a Second Chance to Juveniles
Since we here at the Umansky Law Firm in Orlando build our criminal defense practice around the concept of second chances, the new bill being called “The Second Chance for Children Act,” currently being discussed by the State Senate captured our attention. State Senator Mike Bennett is responsible for this bill and spoke passionately at a recent Senate hearing about the second chance extended to him as a youth. Hanging with the wrong crowd, Bennett repeatedly landed himself in court for such violations as under-aged drinking, fighting and “general hell-raising.” The judge at the time, Lynn Silvertooth, threw Bennett a life-line. He insisted the young man join the military and be out of town within two weeks, “or else.” Bennett joined the navy and never looked back.
The new bill, if passed, would allow judges to reduce lengthy adult sentences for juveniles who meet a specific set of criteria, including:
•· Committed non-homicidal crime
•· Sentenced to more than 10 years
•· Has reached the age of 25
•· Has a clean prison disciplinary record for at least 3 years
•· Has obtained a high school diploma or GED
Additionally, judges would consider factors such as the offender’s age, maturity level and psychological development at the time the crime was committed; the offender’s behavior while in custody, signs of remorse, and the feelings of the victims, in decided whether to reduce the sentence.
The bill is currently making its way through the Senate and will be voted on after they convene in January. The bill has not yet been heard at by a House of Representatives hearing committee.
No matter what your age, the criminal defense attorneys at the Umansky Law Firm in Orlando believe you deserve a second chance. If you are facing DUI charges, drug charges, theft, traffic violations or any other criminal charges, we are here to help you through the legal process and fight for your second chance.