Underage people living in Florida have the same rights as adults with regard to criminal investigations. In other words, they have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. As such, if the police impermissibly detain a minor, the minor arguably cannot be deemed guilty of the commission of any offenses that happen during their detention. Recently, a Florida court examined what constitutes a reasonable seizure of a minor in a case in which a juvenile defendant challenged her adjudication of delinquency for battery on a police officer. If you are currently charged with committing a crime as a juvenile, it is critical to speak to a Clearwater juvenile defense attorney to determine what defenses you might be able to set forth.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that a police officer observed the defendant sitting in a corner near the entrance of a high school after the school was closed. Out of concern for the defendant, who was a young female alone at night in an area with a high rate of crime, the officer approached the defendant and began questioning her. The defendant was reluctant to provide the officer with information; she stated she was waiting for a bus but did not have any bus information, and she declined to tell him her parents’ full names or her address.
Reportedly, the officer called for backup, after which the defendant ran away. The officers pursued the defendant on foot, caught and handcuffed her, and placed her in the back of a police vehicle. They checked on her about half an hour later and found her kicking the partition between the seats. They attempted to restrain her, and she kicked one of the officers in the chest. She was charged with battery of an officer but moved for judgment of dismissal on the grounds that her seizure was illegal. The court found her guilty, and she appealed.