The Criminal Court System’s Ever-Expanding Scope and Influence over Florida Young People

Children today are far more likely to have a negative experience with law enforcement or the criminal court system. Why is this so? In part, we can blame our State and Local government officials for the over-legislation, and the outsourcing of parental and school discipline. And as schools have become more focused on security and safety, it comes at the cost of having this “educational police state.”

These days, instead of parents and school officials intervening to help right the path of students through administrative means, it is far more likely for sheriff’s deputies employed as “school resource officers” and local law enforcement to be the first point of contact for young people. This means that our children today are far more likely to be arrested and processed through the criminal court system than ever before. And the long-term future consequences could be devastating.

A generation ago, when today’s parents were in school, one bad decision did not mean a permanent scar on a criminal record. Kids in the 80s and 90s were arrested far less often for crimes like Possession of Alcohol. They were simply given a formal warning and removed from the situation. Sanctions back then came from parents and/or in the form of administrative punishment like school detention, service work detail, or in-school suspensions.

Nowadays, if your child is arrested for any crime, they not only face school expulsion, but also, a stain on their criminal record. And depending on their age and individual circumstances, the charges might not be able to be expunged unless the case is dismissed. Could you imagine a student with loads of potential and the brightest of futures being derailed by either wrongful accusation, or a lapse of judgment that landed him or her in criminal court? Even a misdemeanor could affect college plans: getting in to the right school, qualifying for financial aid, or losing a scholarship. With so much riding on your child’s future, it is important to protect them from the ravages of the criminal court system as much as possible.

If you are a parent seeking legal representation for your son or daughter, please don’t hesitate to call me to discuss your situation. I focus exclusively on criminal cases and only practice law in the Florida Panhandle. Offering free consultations, help is only a phone call away. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Shawn Lupella-(850) 362-6655.