Articles Tagged with juvenile defense lawyer

Minors tend to think their social media habits are harmless. However, our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers recognize that social media videos, snaps, timelines, messaging, and more have become pivotal evidence in some very serious criminal cases in Florida, particularly those involving juveniles. juvenile detention lawyer Fort Lauderdale

Snapchat, in particular, is a social media network that has exploded in recent years. It started as a private, person-to-person photo sharing app, but it’s now used to send short videos, initiate live chatting, messaging, and story sharing, as well as the creation of caricature-like avatars. The wide arrange of free filters also make it popular, and it’s used by more than 250 million people daily.

It’s also had a noted connection to a number of recent alleged crimes. Among those:

  • Three teenage boys from the Florida Keys are facing charges of lewd and lascivious battery, obscene communication by transmitting child pornography and cruelty toward a child by promoting material involving the sexual act of a child. The video in question reportedly depicts two of the boys (both 16) engaged in sex acts with a 12-year-old girl. The third boy, age 14, reportedly shared the video at school. The boy who shared the video said he had no knowledge of it, but detectives reportedly found numerous incriminating videos saved in his Snapchat account, according to the Miami Herald. Lewd and lascivious battery is a serious felony charge, but so too are the others that involve disseminating the material on social media. F.S. 827.071, which pertains to sharing material that shows a child engaged in a sex act. Depending on one’s degree of involvement, the charge can be a second- or third-degree felony, with maximum penalties of between 5 and 15 years in prison.
  • Three teens were arrested in Wesley Chapel, FL (north of Tampa) over videos on Snapchat that depict them with guns in a grocery store bathroom. The teens were arrested while still on site at the store, in the dairy section. Authorities allegedly found stolen handguns, ammunition, and a stolen credit card.
  • Three middle school students were arrested for alleged threats made on Snapchat against their school. Specifically, they are charged with making a written threat to do bodily harm or commit an act of terrorism. As outlined in F.S. 836.10, this is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

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Six teenagers, ages 14 to 16, are accused of breaking into a man’s Fort Pierce home, stealing a safe containing $200,000 in cash, as well as a Porsche and two handguns. When authorities questioned the boys about the alleged crimes, they reportedly admitted to the theft, and said they had spent the money on gold jewelry, gold teeth, and high and cars and cash gifts for themselves and their mothers.juvenile defense lawyer

Their arrests came at the close of an investigation that began after an April home break-in. Authorities say the homeowner returned to his residence to find his garage door open, and his $60,000 Porsche missing. When he went inside, he discovered his safe with $200,000 in cash – his life savings – and two firearms were missing. The teens reportedly left the vehicle at a local gas station, and while there, one of them pried open the safe and discovered the money, contained in plastic Ziploc bags, inside.

The teens reportedly blew threw the cash, buying gold, vehicles and other gifts. One teen said he had been robbed of the cash. One said he threw away the two guns in a garbage can outside a mall in Fort Lauderdale. When police found the stolen Porsche, they discovered the safe still inside – along with paperwork belonging to one of the teens. This led them to one of the suspects, which led to all of them. Fingerprints from the stolen vehicle were traced to each of the teens. Continue reading

South Florida prosecutors recently announced they would be charging a Fort Lauderdale teen as an adult for his alleged role in an attempted robbery that resulted in the fatal shooting of a construction worker at a convenience store. The state attorney’s office said the 17-year-old suspect reportedly shot the 33-year-old construction worker, who had just exchanged a $100 bill for several $20 bills. The two reportedly started “tussling” when the suspect held the worker at gunpoint, and the suspect in turn fired at least three shots, killing the worker, police said. teen

When teens are charged as adults, it’s via a process known as “direct file,” spelled out in F.S. 985.557. The statute allows that any child who is 14 or 15 at the time of an alleged offense may be subject to a “discretionary direct file” (the discretion being that of the state attorney’s office) for certain felony offenses, including (but not limited to) murder, sexual battery, kidnapping, stalking, child abuse, aggravated battery or armed burglary. A child who is 16 or 17 may be subject to a mandatory direct file if they have previously been adjudicated delinquent for one of these felonies or if the current offense is a “forcible felony” or if the the offense involved possession of a firearm/ destructive device and/ or involved discharge of that weapon.

So while some of these matters may be out of prosecutors’ hands via statute, the fact remains that Florida transfers more children out of the juvenile justice system and into adult court than any other state. The Human Rights Watch reported on this fact in a 2014 investigation. Ninety-eight percent of children who end up in the adult court system do so as a result of the direct file statute, which does not require prosecutors to get any input from a judge.  Continue reading

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