If your child has been arrested in Florida for allegedly committing a crime,
he/she will most likely face the juvenile court system. The Florida Department
of Juvenile Justice will recommend the next steps in the minor’s
adjudication to the State Attorney’s Office and the court, including
detention screening geared toward risk assessment.
The punishments from juvenile court depending on the minor’s age,
type of crime, previous criminal history, and other factors. Essentially,
the juvenile court system is designed to rehabilitate the minor and ensure
recidivism (being more likely to commit crimes in the future) doesn’t
occur, while the criminal justice system is meant to punish those charged
with serious offenses.
However, there are some circumstances where a minor could be sent to adult
court as if he/she is at least 18 years of age. Since Florida is one of
a few states with a “direct file” law, prosecutors have discretion
about whether to file charges against a minor in adult criminal court
without first being authorized by a judge.
According to this state law, prosecutors can charge children as young as
14 years old in adult court for committing one of 21 specified felonies.
This is known as a discretional direct file.
These felonies include:
Minors who are 16 and 17 years of age can be tried in adult court for any
felony offense. This is known as a mandatory direct file.
Based on statistics by the Department of Juvenile Justice, almost 10,000
adult transfers have been filed in the state since 2011. Florida has the
highest number of adult transfers in the country, claimed a 2016 study
by the James Madison Institute.
Law Offices of Robert Stepniak, we are committed to helping your child get his/her case dismissed or
penalties reduced. Our
Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney can investigate your child’s arrest, obtain evidence, find weaknesses
in the prosecution’s case, and get the best possible outcome in
your child’s case.
We understand that mistakes are often made in life, but that doesn’t
mean your child a seasoned criminal. However, if your child happens to
be prosecuted in adult court, we will provide experienced and compassionate
Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.