While a contentious issue, Florida is expected to make juveniles and their parents responsible for damages incurred during the commission of a crime.
Florida is taking a tougher approach to juvenile crime by fostering a bill that would make it mandatory for children and their parents or guardians to pay out for damages caused by juveniles who committed a crime. The major thrust of the bill is to make parents in the Sunshine State sit up and take notice and shoulder more of the responsibility for their children’s actions.
House Bill 0785 would wipe out provisions excusing parents from their children’s offense, in some situations, and remove duplicate language relating to a parent/guardian being responsible for any court order to pay restitution. Aside from those housekeeping items, the Bill also comes down hard in terms of penalties for parents who do not pay up —- by possibly having a lien placed on their home or having their driver’s license taken away —- pretty serious stuff compared to the way things were.
The one thing many people seem to be missing is that a juvenile is still entitled to a well thought out and solid criminal defense. There are many reasons why a juvenile may have become caught up doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. They may have been led into committing a crime by someone else. The crime may have happened on the spur of the moment, without much thought. The accused may not be the true perpetrator. In short, juveniles are as much entitled the services of a criminal defense lawyer as is an adult in a similar situation.
They have rights, and those rights need to be upheld in the most vigorous manner, by a skilled criminal defense attorney who understands the juvenile system and what is and what is not possible in terms of defending their client. Evidently that is not the only thing the Bill has overlooked.
It appears that parents are going to be made responsible for children they had no success or luck in controlling or getting them to change. For those who have raised teens, they understand without being told, that a teen is a law unto themselves and listening to their parents is not on their dance card. It is peer pressure that drives a teen’s formative years. Nonetheless, no matter what the fallout from the Bill may be, it is vitally imperative that people remember every juvenile accused of committing a crime is entitled to a defense, without question.
Thomas C .Grajek is a criminal defense lawyer in Tampa, Lakeland, and Polk County Florida. To contact a Lakeland criminal defense attorney or to learn more, visit http://www.flcrimedefense.com/ or call 863-688-4606.