Juvenile Auto Theft a Serious Problem in Pinellas County
Young people, for various reasons, like to feel the power of an auto and depriving owners of their cars is one way they do this in Florida. The alarming thing is that in some counties throughout the state auto theft is worse than others. Pinellas county is coming out worse than any other county at present with auto theft figures exploding. You can always tell which part of a county is experiencing the most crime as the sound of police sirens ring through the night when they are being called to yet another theft at one avenue or another.
The question that law enforcers are confronted with at the moment is why has Piynellas County over the last 5 years experienced more arrests of young people for felony auto thefts than anywhere else? Overall, throughout Florida, juvenile arrests have decreased by around 20% while Pinellas has seen a rise of 18%. Between 2014 and 2015, 337 arrests took place of juveniles, while in Hillsborough, where the number of young people is far higher, there were only 69 arrests. Even combining the number of arrests in Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville it still does not add up to the total in Pinellas.
Sometimes there are specific reasons for high arrest rates, such as widespread poverty, or just the fact that law enforcement in a particular area is being more vigilant in apprehending law breakers. Some counties, particularly when it comes to youth arrests, have been going overboard by charging youths with such crimes as auto theft instead of trying to divert their behavior by guiding them through diversion programs and issuing the youths with civil citations.
Law enforcers in Pinellas county do believe they may be more thorough at recording crime statistics than other counties, which means the county would fair far worse in a crime league table. What is also significant in the statistics is the prevalence of African American juvenile arrests compared to other groups. The indications are that 85% of arrests are of this minority group, despite the fact that only 11% of youths are of Afro-American descent in Pinellas county.
Often when there are high crime figures in one particular group there is an explanation even though officials are not prepared to readily admit the reasons so the situation does not get addressed and negative means such as arresting and charging persist. This leads the community into a situation of hopelessness with young people losing their chance of playing a positive role in society.
When a youth is charged with auto theft in Florida it is usually classified as a third degree felony which can attract penalties as high as 5 years in prison, a substantial fine of up to $5,000 plus court costs and a criminal record for life. Far more is lost for the juvenile than that as a whole future is at stake when a criminal conviction becomes the outcome of an incident of auto theft. Employers don’t want to employ convicted thieves and educational establishments don’t want to offer spaces on their courses to juveniles who have been labeled criminals.
If you have been arrested for auto theft, you are likely to receive a harsh penalty that will have an effect on the rest of your life. You should seek help from the best Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney you can find who may help you get your charge reduced or diverted through the juvenile court system and give you a second chance.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.