Criminal Defense LawyerLakeland, Tampa, FL

What To Do If Your Child Is Arrested in Polk County or the Tampa Area

Police officer puts handcuffs on a teenager during an arrest.

Polk County Isn't Afraid to Charge Teens With Felonies

There's a myth that the juvenile justice system is "easier" than the adult court system. This is flat-out wrong. Juvenile arrests are very serious. More than half of the juveniles arrested in Florida last year were charged with felonies.

If your son or daughter was arrested, you must take action immediately to protect their rights and freedom. Read on for information about Florida juvenile arrests and how you can help your arrested child. This information is general and may not apply to your case.

To learn more about the steps to take for your specific circumstances, Get Grajek. Call or contact me online for a free consultation.

Tampa and Polk County arrest more youths

In Polk County and the Tampa area, the law enforcement and justice systems don't wear 'kid gloves' to handle juveniles accused of crimes.

Last year there were more than 31,000 juvenile arrests in Florida, according to the state's Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). This includes 2,321 in Hillsborough County and 1,935 in Polk County. The Tampa Police alone made 872 juvenile arrests last year. Locally, some of the most frequently-issued charges include:

  • Felony aggravated assault and battery. 216, Hillsborough County - 188, Polk County
  • Felony burglary. 441, Hillsborough - 192, Polk
  • Felony auto theft. 92, Hillsborough - 37, Polk
  • Misdemeanor and felony drug offenses. 57, Hillsborough - 72, Polk
  • Felony weapons violation. 118, Hillsborough - 62, Polk

If your son or daughter has been arrested, it is important that you are informed of the process and take swift action to protect their rights and freedom.

My child was arrested - what happens now?

Florida is tough on alleged juvenile offenders, especially in the Tampa area. Here's what happens after a juvenile arrest.

Initial arrest. When a juvenile is arrested, they basically have the same rights as adults. This includes the right to remain silent. Police are required to make a reasonable effort to contact the child's parents or guardians and inform them of the arrest.

Call the police. In Florida, police can question juveniles (people under age 18) without their parents or a lawyer being present - with one huge exception. Parents and guardians can stop police interrogations. Therefore, It is important that you talk to the police department that arrested your child right away. Do not wait for them to call you. Contact the police and tell them they are not allowed to question your child and that you are hiring an attorney.

Intake. Your child will be transported for intake at a regional Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC). Here they will be evaluated for treatment and placement in the system. In Hillsborough County, arrested youth are typically sent to 8605 North Branch Ave in Tampa. Juveniles arrested in Polk County typically go to 1090 Hwy 17S in Bartow.

Review hearing. Within 24 hours of a juvenile arrest, officials must have a hearing in front of a judge to review your child's arrest and confinement. The judge may choose to dismiss the charges, place the child on supervised release (house arrest), or keep them in the detention center until their court date or another event.

Juvenile parole officer. Your child will likely be assigned a juvenile parole officer (JPO) during intake. This person will interview the family and the child to determine the juvenile's needs and strengths. They may prepare a "predisposition report" and/or make recommendations to the court.

Remain in custody. If the judge decides to keep your child in custody, your son or daughter will likely go to one of the area juvenile detention centers (aka "lockup" or "juvie"). Contact the detention center near you to see your son or daughter and ask about their visiting hours. Here are the phone numbers for local juvenile centers: Hillsborough Juvenile Detention Center West in Tampa (813) 871-7650 and Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center in Clearwater (727) 538-7100. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to see your child sooner. Your lawyer can help you with this.

A juvenile criminal defense lawyer can fight for your child's freedom

I have worked with the juvenile justice departments in Hillsborough County, Polk County, and the surrounding area for years. I've built relationships with many of the people who make the system work and can put my insider knowledge to work for you.

You can focus your efforts on supporting your son or daughter while I prepare an aggressive defense for your child. Contact me online for a free consultation to learn more about how I can help you.

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