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Can Teenagers Face Domestic Violence Charges?
At least in theory, anyone is capable of committing domestic violence. However, the average person tends to think only of adults when discussing these topics. In reality, teenagers can be respondents in domestic violence cases as well, though the cases are usually prosecuted in a different manner. If you or your child have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, it is crucial to seek out legal representation immediately.
How Common Is Teen Domestic Violence?
Teenagers are somewhat underrepresented in domestic violence statistics because their dating relationships are not technically counted in these numbers. Florida law defines domestic violence as an offense committed against the perpetrator’s “family or household member[s].” This category includes spouses, ex-spouses, co-parents of a child, and people who are (or were) living together as a family – unless two teens are married, living together, or have a child, violence in their relationship does not count as domestic violence.
That said, it is perfectly possible for teenagers to commit domestic violence against their parents or siblings, or anyone else living together ‘as a family’ with them, such as a live-in aunt or uncle. They can have injunctions served on them, and they can face charges for this type of alleged offense – though, if they are younger juveniles or have no prior record, their cases will not resemble those tried in adult court.
Florida recognizes crimes of domestic violence, but there is also an offense on the books referred to as adolescent domestic battery. This is very often the charge for teenagers who are first-time offenders, or for those who come from family situations where violence is more likely to be self-defense or simply fear. For those who have a prior record, or those who cause serious injury to their victim, their case may be referred to adult court.
Juvenile court tends to be more forgiving, simply because juveniles are seen as more worthy of a second chance. Rather than declaring a juvenile guilty of a crime, they are found ‘delinquent,’ and most will wind up on juvenile probation, rather than serving time behind bars. However, a second offense during the probationary period will inevitably result in more serious consequences.
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
If you or your child has been charged with a crime of domestic violence, it is important that you seek out a West Palm Beach criminal attorney who understands the stakes. The firm of Perlet & Shiner, P.A. has handled these types of cases before, and will work hard on yours. Call our office today to speak to an attorney.