Florida Juvenile Justice System
Whereas the criminal justice system often focuses on punishing adult alleged offenders who are convicted of committing criminal offenses, the juvenile justice system in Florida focuses more on rehabilitation. Minors and parents who are dealing with juvenile charges for the first time often have many questions about what to expect following an arrest.
Minors who are facing criminal charges for the first time need to know what their options are and how to avoid having criminal records that can carry many long-term consequences. In many cases, minors are eligible for diversion programs that allow them to not have criminal cases prosecuted by the state in exchange for their compliance with certain conditions.
Lawyer for Florida Juvenile Justice System in Brooksville, FL
Were you or your child arrested or issued a notice to appear in Central Florida? Do not make any kind of statement to authorities until you have contacted The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A..
Brooksville criminal defense attorney Ashley Aulls represents minors accused of juvenile offenses all over Sumter County, Citrus County, Hernando County, and Pasco County. You can have our lawyer provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (352) 593-4115 to schedule a confidential consultation.
Overview of Florida Juvenile Justice System
- How does the Florida Juvenile Justice System work?
- When can minors have their cases filed in adult criminal courts?
- Where can I learn more about the Florida Juvenile Justice System in Brooksville?
When a minor allegedly commits a criminal offense, a law enforcement officer who witnesses the alleged offense may take the minor into custody or issue a notice to appear. While a notice to appear looks similar to a common traffic ticket, it is critical to understand that a notice to appear is actually the equivalent of an arrest and requires an alleged offender to be in court on the date listed.
If a police officer takes a minor into custody for an alleged criminal offense, the minor will be transported to the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department. Juvenile Services staff conducts detention risk assessments to determine whether children can be legally detained at the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center or released before the first court hearing.
When a minor is accused of a first or second non-violent offense, the state attorney’s office may offer a diversion program in which the state agrees not to prosecute the minor so long as he or she agrees to certain conditions. If the minor fails to meet the required conditions of the diversion program, the state attorney’s office can bring the case back to court for prosecution.
If a minor is detained, he or she must have a detention hearing within 24 hours of the arrest. At the time of the detention hearing, the judge will determine one of three levels of supervision: secure, non-secure, or home detention. Florida Statute § 985.03 defines those three types of detention care as follows:
- Secure Detention — Temporary custody of the child while the child is under the physical restriction of a detention center or facility pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
- Nonsecure Detention — Temporary custody of the child while the child is in a residential home in the community in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
- Home Detention — Temporary custody of the child while the child is released to the custody of the parent, guardian, or custodian in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice staff pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.
If a child meets criteria to detain in Miami-Dade County, he or she will be sent directly to the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center located at 3300 NW 27th Ave.
Minors may have their cases transferred to adult criminal courts where they can face much more serious penalties in the following scenarios:
- Indictment from grand jury for felony criminal offense punishable by death or life imprisonment;
- Direct file of criminal charges in the circuit court’s criminal division whenever, in the state’s attorney’s “judgment and discretion,” the public interest requires it; or
- Discretionary waiver asking juvenile court to hold hearing to determine whether child should be transferred for criminal prosecution.
The state’s attorney may also be able to try a minor as an adult through a statutory exclusion (such as an alleged juvenile offender having three prior felony adjudications). A child in Florida who has been convicted and sentenced as an adult is thereafter handled in every respect as an adult for any subsequent violation of state law, under Florida Statute § 985.556.
It is always preferable to have a criminal case handled in a juvenile court rather than the adult court. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. can help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case in the most appropriate venue.
Miami-Dade County | Juvenile Services Department — Visit this website to learn more about the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department. You can find information about the Juvenile Assessment Center, including the assessment process, Global Positioning System (GPS) program, and juvenile arrests. You can also find additional information about Diversion Services such as civil citations, Juvenile Alternative Services Sanctions (JASS), and the Juvenile Delinquency Alternative Program (J-DAP).
Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department
275 NW 2nd St., 2nd Floor
Miami, Florida 33128
Juvenile Justice Process | Florida Department of Juvenile Justice — On this section of the FDJJ website, you can find an overview of the juvenile justice process. The process is broken down into seven steps, each with a description of what FDJJ does as well as answers to frequently asked questions. Elsewhere on the website, you can find additional information for youths, parents, and victims.
The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. | Brooksville Juvenile Justice System Attorney
If you or your child were issued a notice to appear or arrested in Central Florida, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. The Law Office of Ashley Aulls, P.A. defends clients in Wildwood, Brooksville, Inverness, New Port Richey, Spring Hill, Weeki Wachee, and many surrounding areas of Hernando County.
Ashley Aulls is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Brooksville who can fight to possibly get your criminal charged reduced or dismissed. Call (352) 593-4115 or complete an online contact form to have our attorney review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a initial consultation.