Highly Experienced Fort Walton Beach and Destin Juvenile Defense Lawyer

Top-Flight Criminal Defense When Your Son or Daughter Has Been Arrested In Okaloosa County

Obviously, you did not expect to be facing the prospect of your child being accused of a criminal offense. It is something you did not plan for, so it is difficult to know where to go to seek help. Most parents don’t even know where their son or daughter was even taken.

You want to help your child and protect his or her future, but you are also upset and angry at the situation. You may be angry at your son or daughter.

After a little while, you realize that you still love your child and know you are obligated to help them through this situation with the best possible legal result.

Unlike the adult criminal court system, the juvenile criminal court system is geared more toward rehabilitation than punishment. However, depending on the nature of the juvenile conviction, your minor child could have punitive consequences that could last a lifetime.

Besides the obvious, a criminal record, many public schools treat a juvenile conviction as grounds for long term suspension or even expulsion. And depending on the type of charge, your teenager may be required to enter and complete a lock-down juvenile treatment program at a DJJ facility which could last for several months.

Even though a residential juvenile program is legally categorized as “rehabilitative,” often these programs can actually be detrimental to your child because they may be exposed to emotionally disturbed individuals and may learn negative behaviors.

That is why it is of utmost importance that the attorney you select to fight for the future of your child also be someone that has the knowledge and experience to properly advocate for the best result–for your individual child. Finding the right juvenile criminal defense attorney is the first step. You don’t want to make a mistake that could have lasting consequences for your child. A criminal record as a minor could affect their education and potential career opportunities and other aspirations.

Common Juvenile Criminal Offenses in Fort Walton Beach and Destin

The Critical Stages of the Juvenile Court Process

You can opt to do it alone, but there are distinct advantages to having a juvenile criminal defense attorney available to advocate for your child at all the important and critical stages of the juvenile court process.

  • Arrest and Detention
  • Detention Hearing
  • Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Intake and Risk Assessment
  • Arraignment
  • Pretrial and Status Conferences
  • Dismissal, Diversion, Plea, or Judicial Trial
  • Disposition Hearing
  • Restitution Hearing

From the beginning, it is important for your juvenile defense attorney to make contact with both the DJJ officers and the juvenile prosecutor from the Office of the State Attorney. These two entities work in concert to make prosecutorial decisions in juvenile cases.

This is another one of the distinct differences between adult criminal court and juvenile court. Since the time-frames of the Juvenile Court Process are much shorter than the adult system, it is important to have your attorney on board as soon as possible so that they can have a positive impact on the initial DJJ recommendations for your child.

Juvenile Defense is an Important Part of My Criminal Law Practice

I have spent years working in the juvenile court system. I started out as a high school teacher and student advisor in the public school system. And after attending law school, I became a civil prosecutor in child abuse and neglect cases. But after seeing the need for quality, defense minded attorneys I knew I needed to make the decision to help those young people charged with juvenile crimes so I could make both – a positive difference in their case result, as well as a lasting impact on their lives.

In addition to my criminal law practice, I am still involved in the Teen Court Program and frequently appear as a guest speaker and Teen Court Judge.

Contact Attorney Shawn Lupella at 850-362-6655 to discuss your child’s juvenile misdemeanor or felony charges. I have offices in Fort Walton Beach and in Destin.

We can meet in person or set up a free consultation over the phone. After talking to me, you will be equipped with valuable information about the juvenile system that will help you navigate toward the best possible result for your child under the age of 18.

Serving Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, and Walton County, and the communities of Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Mary Esther, Niceville, Navarre, Crestview, Defuniak Springs, Miramar Beach, Sandestin, and the beaches of South Walton County, including Santa Rosa Beach, Grayton Beach, Seaside, and Watercolor communities.