Florida Teen Court

kid placed under arrest

Teen Court is a diversionary program available to first-time youth offenders. Florida has 50 Teen Courts, roughly one per populated county, with Orange County having one of the busiest Teen Courts in the state. The program diverts teenagers away from becoming another statistic in the legal system and provides them with a chance to acknowledge their wrongdoing and take the necessary steps to prevent recidivism.

The prosecutor, defense attorneys, bailiffs, clerks, and all jurors are all teenagers under the age of 18. The purpose of the court is not to decide innocence or guilt as individuals must admit to their respective crimes to gain admittance to the program. What the court does decide, however, is the implementation of sanctions like essays, community service, and jail tours. The program also requires all participants to stand up and issue a sincere apology to either or both parents.

This program can be highly beneficial for a teen who’d like to get a much-needed second chance, but it is best made possible with the help of a seasoned attorney. Reach out to an Orlando juvenile criminal defense lawyer with The Umansky Law Firm to discuss your teenager’s legal options.

Who Can Go to Teen Court?

Those who end up at Teen Court arrive upon a recommendation from court counselors, school resource officers, judges, and law enforcement officers. The program is exclusive to first offenders who are not accused of committing the following:

  • Sexual offenses
  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Firearm charges
  • Hate crimes
  • … and other injury-related crimes

Individuals facing such charges must go through juvenile court or the circuit court for their respective crimes. The types of charges that many Teen Court attendees have been admitted to include:

  • Vandalism
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Shoplifting
  • Possession of drugs or alcohol
  • Consumption of drugs or alcohol
  • Larceny
  • Affray
  • Domestic violence
  • Battery
  • Some Robbery charges
  • Some Burglary Charges
  • Grand Theft
  • Resisting Police officer

Benefits of Florida Teen Court

Teen Court is both voluntary and confidential. Successful completion of the program results in the individual avoiding school suspension/expulsion and the original charge being dismissed. The diversion program also allows individuals to dispose of their cases in a third of the time it would take if one were to go through the juvenile court system.

The ninth judicial court of Florida explains that Teen Court “… provides the following:

  • A forum for defendants to explain their involvement in the offense
  • A structured environment in which the words and actions of defendants who admit their wrongful acts are evaluated and judged by a jury of their peers
  • The opportunity for defendants to accept responsibility for their actions by fulfilling the jury’s sentence of community service hours and future jury duty assignments, both of which are designed to be constructive and rehabilitative.”

These options are otherwise unavailable in a traditional court of law and can be highly beneficial for a teenager who may be experiencing his first run-in with the law. Ensure that your teenager isn’t unjustly prosecuted by securing legal services from an experienced juvenile criminal defense lawyer.

Orlando Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers

If your teen is facing criminal penalties for his or her first criminal offense, you can benefit from speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The founder of the firm, William Umansky has volunteered as a Teen Court Judge for over 15 years. The Orlando juvenile criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm can analyze case facts and help determine whether Teen Court is a viable option for your child. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.