Youths who are charged with non-violent offenses in Largo, FL may be eligible to participate in a Juvenile Diversion program which could either result in them not being convicted of the crime or having their charges dismissed. These programs “provide a second chance for at-risk youths who have not previously been in the criminal justice system and who are not accused of violent crimes” [Source: Sixth Judicial Circuit]. Not only do these programs help left the burden for juvenile courts, but they give juvenile offenders a chance to right their wrongs.
When a young offender has been accepted into a Juvenile Diversion program, they will go through “peer review, sanctions, counseling, and community service.” Once completed, a juvenile will either be given the “opportunity to have adjudication withheld or earn a complete dismissal of charges against them.” Adjudication withheld means the youth would not be convicted of the crime although it may still appear on their record. Depending on the type of offense the juvenile was charged with, s/he may be able to get is expunged at a later date so that employers and other agencies cannot see it when they conduct a background check.
Juvenile Diversion Programs Offered in Pinellas County, FL
There are a few different diversion programs that are offered to juveniles who have been charged with a criminal offense. For example, the Juvenile Arbitration program is designed for first-time juvenile offenders who have been charged with a misdemeanor crime. A juvenile who qualifies to participate in this program would be scheduled for a hearing where penalties are then assigned [Source: Sixth Judicial Circuit]. Some of the penalties might include:
- A letter of apology
- An essay assignment
- School attendance and behavior improvements
- Counseling assessment
- Community service
- Participation in education classes
Under this program, a juvenile may be assigned to complete a class that closely relates to their charges. For example, if a teen was charged with theft, s/he may be required to complete the “To Catch a Thief” class. After about six to eight weeks into the program, a follow-up hearing will be scheduled “to determine if the offender has met the requirements for avoiding a juvenile record.”
It is important to understand that not all youths who have been charged with a criminal offense in Largo, FL will qualify to participate in a Juvenile Diversion Program.
Trevena, Pontrello & Associates Can Help Youths Fight Their Criminal Charges
Whether the family of an arrested teen is looking to fight the charges that have been filed against their child or get them reduced to a lesser degree, the Largo, FL criminal defense attorneys at Trevena, Pontrello & Associates are more than qualified to help. The defense lawyers at this firm take into account their clients’ needs and devote the time and effort needed to secure the best possible outcome.
With its office based in Largo Florida, Trevena Pontrello & Associates primarily practices in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco County, and throughout the state of Florida.
Trevena, Pontrello & Associates is located at:
801 W Bay Drive, Suite 509
Largo, FL 33770