My child was questioned at school by a school resource officer. I wasn’t even told that it happened until afterwards. Can the statements he made to the officer be held against him?

Yes. School officials, even school resource officers are not required to contact parents prior to interviewing students nor do they read them their Miranda rights.   Anything they say can be used against them. The safest thing to tell your child, especially since you may not be present, is to ask for an attorney and say nothing. Gone are the days where kids would get in a fight at school and be dealt with at school. The kids are now arrested and prosecuted even for schoolyard fights.

If I am arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence battery will I have to stay in jail while my case is pending?

If you are arrested for domestic violence battery the bond amount is automatically set at “No Bond” and  you will be brought before the first appearance Judge within 24 to 48 hours (typically w/in 24 hours) to address probable cause for arrest and the possibility of a bond.  The first appearance Judge will take into consideration numerous factors as to whether or not you will be given a bond.  These things include, but are not limited to, the alleged victims input as to whether or not they are in fear for their safety should you be released, your prior record, any prior failures to appear for court and your ties to the community.   Typically the Judge will grant some form of  monetary bond which would include a no contact provision and potentially some form of GPS monitoring.   That is not always the case if you have multiple prior arrests for domestic violence or the Judge has reason to believe that the alleged victim is in fear for his or her safety should you be released.  I always recommend that if you can afford to retain counsel to come to your first appearance it is worth it so that they can advocate on your behalf with regards to getting  a bond set. There are judges that do not set a monetary bond at 1st appearance  for domestic battery charges.

I just discovered that my son and his 15 year old girlfriend had sex. Can he be charged with a crime?

Yes, even if your son is 15 years of age as well. In Florida, the legal age of consent is 16. Hence, even if two children who are both under the age of 16 have sex, they could both be charged with Lewd and Lascivious conduct and subsequently be labeled a sex offender. It doesn’t matter if the sex was consensual or not. If your child is facing these charges, they may follow him/her for the rest of their lives. Hire an attorney who will invest the time to find the best solution.

Does Florida have a diversion program?

Yes, in county court or circuit court, which address misdemeanors and felonies respectively, the State Attorneys Office may offer Pretrial diversion or Pretrial Intervention. Both are programs that provide conditions to the defendant that if successfully completed result in a dismissal of the charges. Florida does not offer a diversion program for DUI’s. The State Attorneys office allows the victim in most cases the ability to disallow the defendant from being able to participate in the program.