California girl, 16, is second person sentenced in Bridge of Lions vandalism

A girl who helped spray red paint into the eyes and nose of a historic and vaunted marble lion on the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine will be on Florida probation until she’s 19. The girl, whose name was not released because she is a juvenile, will also have to complete 40 hours of community service, pay $721 in restitution and write a public letter of apology, according to a report by First Coast News. She was 15 at the time of her arrest and visiting her grandparents in St. Augustine. She was arrested with a 19-year-old man three days after the vandalism was discovered, the television station reported. She admitted to having the paint, but denied doing any of the painting. She was found guilty this week of criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. The 19-year-old partner received more than seven times the community service when he was sentenced in November.

The courts are typically more lenient with juvenile arrests, and the laws are set up that way. For crimes such as this – vandalism, petit theft, possession of marijuana or a minor in possession of alcohol – the penalties are not as stiff as for adults. But that doesn’t mean charges should not be taken serious. In fact, it’s the opposite. If your child or a loved one’s child winds up on the wrong end of the law, it’s important that it is handled the right way to prevent future damage. Juvenile Attorneys will often negotiate what is called a “withhold of adjudication,” which means the person will not be listed as being convicted, provided the terms of the agreement are met. Those terms are often similar to what was given in the Bridge of Lions case – community service, probation and a fine, maybe even a class on alcohol or drugs, depending on the offense.

Teen-agers make mistakes. It happens. But it is crucial to make sure the consequences do not hurt him or her down the road, if that can be avoided. In many cases, the conviction can even be removed from the person’s record. Our Jacksonville Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney has represented countless teenagers, many of whom have taken their punishment and moved on – staying out of trouble going forward. Our Duval County criminal defense firm defends many juvenile clients.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County violent crimes lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.