The story gripped the nation: two teenagers – one just 13 years old, the other 18 – appeared to be drunk in love and careening out of control across the Southeastern United States.
The pair, who began their escape on January 3, 2015, first dabbled in criminal misconduct by running away from their homes and staying in abandoned trailers and homes. From there, the couple stole a vehicle from a Kentucky garage, thereafter embarking on a multi-state, multi-crime journey for nearly two weeks.
While traveling from Kentucky to South Carolina to Georgia, the couple managed to steal three more vehicles, as well as several other retail items. However, in stark contrast to the theatrical ending to the ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ story, the pair was ultimately – and unceremoniously – picked up from a parking lot in Panama City Beach, Florida while asleep in their most recently stolen vehicle.
The damage done by this criminal jaunt may seem insurmountable to both teenagers at the outset, however with proper representation by experienced criminal defense attorneys, both may be able to turn this experience into one of learning and reflection, thereby avoiding excessive stays in a juvenile detention center or, for the older perpetrator, state prison.
Unraveling Juvenile and Adult Multi-State Charges
The jurisdictional challenges of this case are somewhat perplexing, as all states involved are afforded the opportunity to prosecute and sentence both offenders. However, this can prove problematic, time-consuming and costly, possibly requiring as many as eight separate trials in four states. With his or her work cut out, each perpetrator’s criminal defense attorney will need to craft a solid defense to each possible charge, which could include:
- Four counts of grand larceny (one for each stolen vehicle)
- Untold counts of petit larceny for each stolen retail item
- Evading law enforcement
- Obstructing justice
As experienced criminal defense lawyers, our first line of defense would be to review the facts of the case to ensure that prima facie (on its face) the elements of each criminal charge are arguably provable against the defendant.
Criminal charges that are too outlandish or ridiculous for a reasonable jury to find in favor of the prosecution are often quickly dismissed upon motion by an experienced defense attorney, as well as those charges that are supported by unlawfully-obtained evidence in violation of the Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Amendments.
From there, we review the facts very carefully with our clients, gleaning their side of the story and forming a credible and thorough defense. Nearly all criminal charges include an explicit intent requirement, which may be difficult to prove in the case of the younger defendant described above, particularly if she was under the coercive effects of an older boyfriend and truly did not understand the gravity of her crimes.
The older defendant, who will face adult criminal charges for his role in the crime spree, will also benefit from the comprehensive representation of a well-versed attorney. In his case, he will likely face additional charges beyond those imposed on the younger co-defendant, especially if the prosecution believes he was coercive or intimidating to the younger participant.
In any event, defending against the slew of criminal charges likely facing the couple in today’s story requires the solid criminal defense knowledge of an experienced lawyer, particularly one who likes a challenge.
Got a Criminal Challenge? Contact the Fowler Law Group Right Away!
At the Fowler Law Group, we do not shy away from difficult, complex or multifaceted criminal and juvenile law cases. If you are facing a recent criminal charge and would like to discuss your options, contact us today by calling (941) 900-3100.