Underage Truancy

Have a teen facing charges as a juvenile because of a truancy case?  We’ve represented juveniles for dozens of crimes, and this is one of them.  Contact our law firm at (407)228-3838 to speak with a lawyer and learn your options.

In Florida, truancy which is most commonly known as “skipping school”, is under the jurisdiction of the Truancy Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of  Orange County. Under Section 1003.26 of the Florida State Statute, truancy is defined as a juvenile offense that can be charged to anyone under the age of 16 that fails to attend school on a regular basis. The state understands that minors are still developing, thus the laws juveniles are upheld to differ from that of adults. However, when a juvenile offense is committed both the child and parent can face consequences for neglecting to comply with the laws set forth by the State of Florida.

Florida School Truancy Laws

The Florida Truancy laws state that any child between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school. If a student’s 16th birthday happens during a school year they are no longer required to attend, but must make a formal filing that indicated their decision to end their scholastic enrollment. Habitual absence from school is often considered an indicator of larger issues in a child’s life. It can also be a precursor to other and more serious criminal activity. Studies have shown that truants are more inclined to commit more serious crimes and are more likely to drink alcohol and do drugs.

How Many Absences Before a Truancy Charge in Florida

A student becomes truant when they miss a certain number of days within a specified time and without a valid reason or excuse. Florida considers a “habitual truant” to be any student of elementary school age through age 16 who has accumulated 15 or more unexcused absences in a three month period without the knowledge of their parent or guardian, and who is subject to compulsory school attendance. This offense is treated with great seriousness by the courts.

Not only can a child be arrested but also their parents with a growing number of states starting to file charges against parents of truant children. Florida has begun to conduct truancy sweeps and many parents have been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and failing to comply with attendance laws. Both are misdemeanor offenses, but can still result in steep fines and even jail time. To best navigate the laws surrounding compulsory school attendance, families should seek the advice of a juvenile lawyer. A good Orlando juvenile lawyer will be familiar with the rules regarding middle and high school attendance in Orange County. Violation of these laws by parents are considered second degree misdemeanors. For the offending child, consequences can include fines, community service, and loss of driving privileges. This can tear a family apart at its core, and sound legal advice should be sought.

Florida Truancy Penalties

If a child is picked up for habitual absences they may be taken directly to a juvenile detention center. This action becomes part of the child’s permanent record which could have a variety of negative impacts in the future. The juvenile court can issue several different types of punishments on minors and parents including:

  • More School – To make up for the days that were missed, a truant student may be ordered to enroll in summer school or weekend classes.
  • Drug Screening – If drug or alcohol abuse are an issue, the court will require the teen to undergo random drug testing and possibly a drug education class.
  • Behavioral Therapy – The child may be required to attend counseling sessions in an individual or group setting.
  • Juvenile Detention – There is a chance the court will order the teen to a detention center or group home, especially if this is not their first offense.
  • Probation – A court could place the teen on probation for a certain period of time where they would be required to check in with a probation officer.
  • Penalties for Parents – If neglect has been committed by the parent or legal guardian, they could face fines, jail time and be required to attend counseling.

Defending Truancy Among Minors in Orlando, Florida

The juvenile justice system is very different than that for adults. Separate courts, facilities, rules, procedures, and laws exist for the protection of the welfare of the child. The rules and systems can be confusing and a strong juvenile truancy lawyer is essential when involved with the law. Families should seek out those firms with knowledge and experience in the juvenile system.

Only a truancy lawyer can provide the appropriate advice and counsel with regard to these very serious matters. Contact our juvenile defense lawyers today to go over the details of your case. It’s important that you have an attorney by your side to avoid the serious consequences a truancy charge can have on you and your teen. Call us at 407-228-3838 or use or 24/7 online chat service to schedule a free consultation.

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