Florida leads the nation in trying minors as adults. Nearly 165 out of every 100,000 juvenile cases are transferred to adult court in the state. This owes to the Florida’s direct file system, which gives prosecutors final say on whether to try a juvenile as an adult.
You can be tried as an adult in Florida in the following instances:
-You were at least 16 years old at the time of the crime, and were charged with a violent crime
-You have been charged with a forcible felony
-You used a stolen vehicle and committed seriously bodily harm or death to another person in the commission of the crime
-You have been charged with murder, aggravated assault, sexual battery, robbery, burglary, arson, or kidnapping
If you are a minor who has been arrested for any crime that falls into the above categories, you are in serious trouble and should take the matter seriously. If the prosecution decides to try you as an adult, you will lose all privileges of being a minor. A conviction will lead to sentencing as an adult. You will lose the right to a diversion program and go to prison. Your records will not be sealed; they will be made public for everyone, including prospective employers, to see.
In Florida, prosecutors will even try minors who committed non-violent crimes as adults. You should therefore take the threat of such a thing at face value. Indeed, the authorities may try to coax you into talking and confessing to what they think you did by threatening to try you as an adult. It is best that you say nothing and call for a lawyer instead. An arrest does not amount to a conviction. You are innocent until proven guilty, and you still have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
Prosecutors may or may not decide to try you as an adult, but you don’t want to take any chances. You should only answer questions when your lawyer is present. Your attorney will counsel you on how to respond to each query put to you.
It may be the case that you have been swept up in a larger police operation that happened to target the place you were staying or the people you were with. This occurs all the time. Police often work on imperfect information. When they move in to make an arrest, they do not always know who and who was not involved in the crime.
William Hanlon criminal defense lawyer in St Petersburg can help you out of such trouble. If you are innocent, your attorney can help you clear yourself of the charges. One of the first orders of business for your lawyer is to look at what the police have on you. Law enforcement officials often exaggerate the evidence they have against the people they have in custody. And if they are working on a complex case, they may be reluctant to let anyone they arrested go. However, you cannot be kept in jail because it is convenient for the police. If they have no evidence connecting you to the crime, then your lawyer can arrange for your release.
However, if the police do have something on you, then the case will have to move forward. At that point, your lawyer will begin developing your legal strategy. They will be eager to listen to your side of the story, from which they will start to put together your defense. As part of this effort, your lawyer will launch their own investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crime you have been accused of. They will also look hard at the methods used by law enforcement to collect evidence and carry out the arrest. Your lawyer will point out the shortcomings of evidence and the unsoundness of argument in the prosecution’s case. Doing so can lead to a positive outcome for you.