Orlando Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Panella Law Firm accepts cases throughout Florida

Children have their whole lives ahead of them, but every day some find themselves face to face with the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, juveniles’ mistakes and the way the courts handle those mistakes can lead to lifelong consequences. An Orlando juvenile defense lawyer may be able to significantly reduce the repercussions of a criminal charge, especially if you speak to a lawyer early on. Panella Law Firm has defended juveniles in all manner of criminal cases, aggressively pursuing the outcomes that will help preserve their futures.

Call 407-233-1822 today for a free consultation. Our Orlando juvenile defense attorneys are ready to take your call 24 hours a day.


Orlando Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Orlando Juvenile Defense Lawyer


When Your Child Is Taken Into Custody

No one wants to hear that their child is in police custody, but it happens. Parents who learn that the police have their children must act quickly to preserve their rights and make sure their children do not do or say something that will negatively affect them for the rest of their lives. A Florida juvenile crimes lawyer is the appropriate professional to call.

Although Florida’s juvenile court system centers around rehabilitation instead of punishment, there are many opportunities for children to have their rights trampled. Always remember that the authorities, whether police or school officials, might push your child to talk without parental or legal representation, just as they do with adults. It is in the child’s best interests to remain silent until a juvenile defense attorney arrives, even when a parent is present.

Police and Child Custody

In Florida, police must follow strict procedures when taking a child into custody. The rules got even tougher after a 2019 incident at an Orlando K-12 school. In that case, a six-year-old student became unruly and began throwing temper tantrums. At one point, the child allegedly hit an assistant principal, and the school called the police.

Within moments of arriving, the responding officer placed the crying young girl under arrest and took her away. Public uproar was such that the Florida legislature changed the law by placing an age limit on arrests. Now, no one under the age of seven can be arrested in Florida.

In Florida, the police may take a child into custody if one of the following four conditions is met:

  • There’s a circuit court warrant for the child’s arrest.
  • The child committed a delinquent act or a violation of the law that permits an arrest.
  • The child failed to appear in court.
  • There is probable cause to believe the child violated probation or commitment orders.

When a child is taken into custody, the detaining police officer must attempt to reach the parents or guardian. After the officer delivers the child to the station, the department must continue trying to communicate with the parents or guardian until they are successful.

If the police call you and tell you they have your child, take action to protect them. It is likely they don’t understand how critical it is to retain a Florida juvenile crimes lawyer as soon after the arrest as possible.

Always remember that the police want evidence and a culprit, and they often seek to charge defendants with multiple crimes after an arrest. They have the authority to question children without their parents, guardians, or even an attorney present. A child who is alone presents an excellent opportunity for the police to get them to talk.

Why Choose the Panella Law Firm?

Charges for Juvenile Crimes in a Florida Case Deserve a Vigorous Defense

Panella Law Firm successfully relies on the vast experiences of our founder, Michael Panella, and our other criminal defense attorneys to obtain favorable outcomes for clients. Years of fighting and winning cases have made us a powerful criminal defense firm.

With an undefeated record at trial, Michael Panella one of the most experienced trial lawyer can provide a robust defense for your juvenile criminal case. No case dealing with juvenile crimes in Florida is too big or too small for our office. If you need an Orlando juvenile crimes attorney, reach out. We are here to help and are not afraid to take on difficult cases, no matter the issue.

For a free consultation with a Florida juvenile crimes lawyer, call our office today at 407-233-1822.

Criminal Charges for Juveniles

Once your child is in custody, the authorities will begin the process of charging or releasing the child. It is important to remember that the charge used to book a child may not be the ultimate charge they face in court. The state’s attorney will decide what the final charges will be.

Common Juvenile Criminal Charges and Consequences

As you know, juveniles have a knack for finding trouble. They don’t fully understand the repercussions of their actions, which sometimes leads them to engage in destructive activities. Generally speaking, youths that find themselves facing criminal charges typically commit crimes within the following categories:

  • Assault and battery, simple and aggravated
  • Petit larceny
  • Misdemeanor drug crimes, such as possession of marijuana or paraphernalia
  • Disorderly conduct, which encompasses loitering, fighting, and noise violations
  • Burglary, which is entering a building with the intent to commit an offense therein.

If a child is charged with one of these or other crimes, they may end up in a Florida Department of Juvenile Justice detention facility instead of adult jail while they await adjudication. After an unfavorable adjudication, the child will be sent to a residential facility for rehabilitation instead of prison for their offenses.

Although these juvenile facilities are intended to be safer places for youths than adult institutions, this is often not true. A tour of dozens of detention and residential centers in 2016 revealed deplorable living conditions that posed a threat to the juveniles’ lives. The media continues to report shocking incidents of violence and sexual assault at these facilities.

A seasoned Orlando juvenile defense attorney, like a skilled self-defense lawyer, will do all they can to keep their client out of these facilities. If the child must go to one, the attorney will fight to limit the time their client spends there.


Your Orlando juvenile defense attorney will seek probation if dismissal or acquittal is not an option. Probation for juvenile crimes in Florida is similar to a contract and requires the juvenile to fulfill specific terms to avoid being sent to a residential facility. Typical probation terms include the requirement to . . .

  • Pay monetary restitution to a victim
  • Complete community service
  • Follow a curfew
  • Have no contact with the victim
  • Write a formal apology
  • Avoid contact with inappropriate individuals
  • Participate in counseling for substance abuse or mental health concerns.

If a juvenile violates their probation, their Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) will initiate a process that may lead to serious consequences. The presiding judge may revoke their probation and send them to a residential facility or take some other severe action. With a juvenile defense attorney representing them, the juvenile stands a better chance of receiving a favorable judgment on their probation problem.

Charging a Juvenile as an Adult

In some instances, the law permits the state to charge juveniles as adults. As you might imagine, these cases involve serious matters beyond normal juvenile antics, and their disposition could severely harm a juvenile’s future. If your child is being tried as an adult, there is no time to spare. Contact our Orlando juvenile crimes attorney to defend your young one’s rights and help fight for their future.

Florida has a notorious record of choosing to try juveniles in adult court. In fact, the Sunshine State was one of the first in the nation to allow prosecutors to send juveniles to adult court. According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the number of juveniles who end up facing adult charges has declined significantly; however, there remain a considerable number of youngsters who do.

Voluntary Waiver

Florida juveniles have the right to voluntarily petition the court to face adult criminal court. A juvenile defense attorney can help you understand when this course of action is in the child’s best interests.

Involuntary Discretionary Waiver

In some cases, the state’s attorney can request that a child be tried as an adult by filing charges directly with the appropriate circuit court. For a child to ultimately face charges in adult court, the court must determine the appropriateness of the state’s attorney’s request at a hearing.

Involuntary Mandatory Waiver

In certain more serious juvenile crimes cases, the state’s attorney is bound by law to charge a juvenile as an adult. Florida law gives a list of conditions that make trying a juvenile as an adult mandatory.

Juveniles must be tried as an adult in Florida if the child was at least 14 years old at the time of the crime, is currently facing violent crime charges, and was previously adjudicated delinquent for any of the following violent felonies:

  • Sexual battery or aggravated battery
  • Attempted, conspiracy to commit, or commission of murder
  • Home-invasion robbery
  • Armed or strong-armed robbery
  • Carjacking
  • Burglary with assault or battery.

A juvenile must also be charged as an adult when, at the age of 14 or older, they allegedly commit a fourth or subsequent felony with a delinquency adjudication for three adult felonies or one felony committed with violence or a firearm. If a juvenile must ultimately face adult criminal charges, the stakes are much higher and include jail and prison time, loss of the right to vote, and loss of future employment opportunities.

For this reason, hiring an Orlando juvenile crimes attorney is vital. They provide a fierce defense for their young clients facing time in adult facilities. On the other side of the coin is the state’s attorney, who wants nothing more than to put the juvenile behind bars.

Frequently Asked Questions to Ask Our Orlando Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Please refer to the questions and answers that follow to gain more insight into juvenile justice issues that may affect you.

  • How many youths are arrested in Florida each year?

    The number of juvenile arrests has been dropping each year. For the fiscal years of 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21, juvenile arrest figures are 54,878, 45,449, and 31,612, respectively.

  • Can juveniles be guilty of a crime in Florida?

    In most cases, juveniles are not guilty of crimes. They are given an adjudication of delinquency in place of a conviction. Juveniles charged as adults, however, can be guilty of a crime.

  • Should a juvenile talk to the police if they are a suspect or get arrested?

    Juveniles who are suspected of a crime or get arrested should not speak to the police without an attorney present. A parent or guardian should also be present, but it is the attorney who will know how best to defend the child.

  • Do juveniles go to jail or prison?

    Juveniles may go to jail or prison if they are charged as an adult and convicted. If not, they may spend time at a juvenile detention center, residential facility, or both.


Contact our office anytime for more answers to your questions. Our Orlando juvenile defense lawyer is ready to speak with you.

Trust Us to Handle Your Case

We Fight Hard to Protect Our Juvenile Clients’ Future

Regardless of the charge, juveniles need a robust defense that considers their future as adults. If you need to mount a defense against juvenile criminal charges, contact our Orlando juvenile defense lawyer today at 407-223-1822 for immediate help with your case.

Attorney Mike Panella

For Mike Panella, the concept of zealous advocacy developed at an early age – fueled by what he perceived to be an unjust resolution in a personal family legal matter. Mr. Panella would later attribute his passion to defend the rights of those who stand accused to those inequities in the legal system he observed, and considered unjust. Before opening Panella Law Firm, Mr. Panella served as an Assistant Public Defender for Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office and worked hundreds of cases in both Brevard and Seminole Counties. Mr. Panella was undefeated at trial. [ Attorney Bio ]

Contact Attorney Michael Panella

Need a criminal defense service? Turn to Panella Law Firm and contact us today with your question.

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