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About Arresting Very Young Children

In September 2019, in Orlando, Florida, body camera footage showed a reserve police officer arrest a 6-year old girl for throwing a “tantrum” at school. The officer, who also arrested a 6-year-old boy in a separate episode on the same day, was fired. A lawyer for the school said the officer arrested the children despite the principal’s request not to do so. 

At the time, the police department required officers to get a supervisor’s approval when arresting anyone under the age of 12, and this officer failed to do so. The State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit told reporters that her office never intended to prosecute elementary-age children. The girl’s case was dismissed Monday morning.

Obviously, arresting children as young as six years old is a problem. If you have a child who has been arrested, let an experienced Sarasota juvenile attorney at The Fowler Law Group help.

How Common is it For Young Children to be Arrested?

Actually, it’s more common than you might think. According to ABC News, using data from the FBI, More than 30,000 children under age 10 have been arrested in the US since 2013. 

Furthermore, annual crime statistics compiled by the FBI show that between 2013 and 2018, at least 30,467 children under the age of 10 were arrested in the U.S., and the numbers rise sharply for children between the ages of 10 to 12, with 266,321 arrested during the same six-year time span, according to the data.

What is an Acceptable Age for a Child to Be Arrested?

From a legal standpoint, charging a juvenile as young as 6 with a crime varies across the U.S. Of the 51 states (50 states plus the District of Columbia), 33 do not have a low age limit on arresting a child. In effect, that means that an officer can legally arrest even a disorderly 2-year-old.

In the remaining 18 states, most put the low age limit that a child can be charged with a crime at 10 years old. In those locations, a 6-year-old like the two in Florida could not be arrested or charged with a crime.

There is growing support across the country to raise the minimum age that a child can be arrested to 12 years old. In some of those 33 jurisdictions where no minimum age is set, there is support to set some number. Advocates would like to see all of those states put a number in, either age 10 or age 12.

Contact a Sarasota Juvenile Attorney at The Fowler Law Group for More Information

No matter what age you support, if you have a child that has been arrested, let the Sarasota juvenile attorney at The Fowler Law Group help. Our experienced juvenile law attorneys will handle your case and fight for your child’s rights. Please contact us online.

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