Brad Post, Host, Create the Movement: All right. Welcome to our podcast. We are speaking to criminal defense attorneys in the Tampa-area Bauer, Crider, Kenny and Parry. We are speaking to Mike Kenney. And we are in this series on juvenile crimes. And we’re going to be talking basically today about a Tampa juvenile battery. And we’re speaking to Tampa juvenile battery defense attorney Mike Kenny. And Mike, how are you?
Mike Kenny, Attorney, Bauer, Crider Kenny and Parry: I’m doing well. How are you?
B: Good. Good. Let’s kind of started on battery.
M: Sure. Sure.
B: Kind of mentioned before the podcast – fights in school.
M: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It used to be maybe, when I was a kid going to school that if kids got in a fight they went to the principal’s office. But nowadays, if kids get in a fight in school, a lot of times they go to jail, or the juvenile detention center.
M: And there is law enforcement involvement in most schools nowadays, at least in the state of Florida. And what happens with that is, obviously, a lot of things are better as a result of that. But there’s also probably, a higher likelihood of there being state involvement on behavior that didn’t always get that.
So, fighting in school, and two kids get into fight in school, the likelihood is someone’s going to get arrested, or charged. And when you have that, it’s going to have, obviously, a significant impact on a young man or woman’s life. And I’m sure a lot of parents would be very concerned, and want to do whatever they can to keep that child as mark-free as possible, as far as the criminal justice system is concerned.
So, you know, battery, in the state of Florida, is defined as an intentional touching or striking of another individual, against that person’s will. Or, an intentional act causing bodily harm to another individual. And that can either be a misdemeanor or a felony – depending upon how the touching happens and the level of harm caused. So, in juvenile cases, it’s same exact statute as it is an adult court. So, you can have an aggravated battery, which could be the use of a deadly weapon to make contact with somebody. Or, the use of a deadly weapon to make contact with somebody that causes serious bodily harm. A felony battery would be causing serious bodily harm, but, without maybe, the use of a deadly weapon and without intent to cause serious bodily harm.
And then you have your misdemeanor batteries. Which could be anything from a push, a punch, a slap -all of those things. And they all have different levels of punishment. But what’s important to note is, that when a juvenile’s accused of a crime, if it’s a felony, he doesn’t have that same protection that he may have it was a misdemeanor, as far as juvenile court is concerned. There is a confidentiality that juveniles are afforded in Florida, but that confidentiality doesn’t really exist at the same level, if at all, when juveniles are accused of felony cases.
So, it’s very important to make sure, that if that comes up, that you have an attorney who knows what he or she is doing to best protect and insulate your child from having a very public record of a, what I would say, is a momentary lapse in judgment, or blip in his or her life. As a criminal defense lawyer, when you’re representing juveniles, your job is to make sure that one mistake doesn’t become a lifetime of grief. And that’s kind of what you have to be aware of when one you have a child who gets in trouble. And nowadays, when children get into fights, nowadays, there is a higher likelihood that the police are going to get called. And there’s a higher likelihood that there’s going to be an investigation.
So, what I want to tell my clients, and the family members of my clients, is it’s very important to understand that when someone from school wants to send your child to the police officer’s office there, that it’s very important that everyone understands that their children still have a right to not incriminate themselves. They still have a right to have an attorney present. They still have a right to ask an attorney questions, and they still have a right to not be part of that interrogation.
The biggest problem I’ve had, is I’ve represent plenty of juveniles who end up getting requested to go from their classroom to the police officer’s office, and the biggest problem I have is when juveniles walk into that office they believe that they have to go. They believe that they have to go in there because their teacher sent them there. And they believe that, I guess, it’s their job to sit there and answer the questions. And a lot of times that child is doing himself no good. Because he’s basically providing the information to the person who’s one day going be on the opposite side of the courtroom trying to prosecute him for a criminal act.
So, my job is to get involved early. My suggestion is if the parents know that something is going on, as far as the criminal act involving juvenile, you want to get involved early so you can prevent mistakes like these. I can do a great job, but it’s always a lot harder to go back and try to make up for some mistakes that were made along the way before I got involved.
And in battery cases, the biggest concern, obviously, is whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor. And probably the second concern is going to be the cost of restitution, if there is any. Restitution being criminal courts order the defendant in a juvenile case to pay any medical expenses that the victim may have suffered as a result of this criminal act. And a lot of times the juvenile can’t afford that. So, the real person who’s on the hook is mom and dad. And these are important aspects to understand when you’re getting involved in a criminal case. Which is why you want to hire a lawyer who knows what he’s doing.
B: All right. Anything else on battery?
M: No, sir.
B: It seems, I agree with you, and when I was in school there was a little bit more discipline involved by the school than getting the police involved immediately. And nowadays, it’s just kind of an immediate.
B: A lot of schools even have police.
M: Sure. Probably every public school in Florida probably has a school resource officer of some type at this stage of the game.
B: Right. So, if you’re charged with that, it’s important to contact Tampa juvenile battery defense attorneys like Bauer, Crider, Kenny and Parry, that are experienced in juvenile matters. All right. You’ve been listening to the floridadefense.com podcast. Join us for our next edition.