Florida’s Juvenile Court System

Juvenile Defense Attorney

A report by the National Juvenile Defender Center found that many young people in the Florida juvenile justice system don’t receive the legal representation they need and deserve. They enter into plea bargains that have serious consequences, preventing them from serving in the military, from getting hired, or qualifying for financial aid.

While the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice says it wants to “turn around the lives of troubled youth,” the reality of the Florida juvenile justice system is that sometimes it does more harm than good.

The Florida Juvenile Justice Process

When someone under 18 is arrested for a crime they go through a number of stages with the juvenile justice system. These stages are different than those for adults.

  • Detention : When a young person is picked up on suspicion of committing a crime (or for truancy or staying out past curfew), they will be taken to a short-term juvenile assessment detention facility or police detention facility. Parents will be called at this time. This may be the best time to contact a lawyer.
  • Arraignment : At this stage, a decision will be made about whether to charge the young person with a crime as a juvenile or an adult, and whether there case will go to an adjudicatory hearing or to a diversion program such as Orange County Teen Court program. A criminal lawyer can be crucial at this stage. The attorney can contact the prosecutor to potentially influence what charges are filed, if any.

Book Cover

Author of
“Juvenile Criminal Defense Strategies”

  • Adjudicatory Hearing : A young person will have a hearing before a juvenile judge at an adjudicatory hearing. The adjudicatory hearing is like a trial for adults, except a child is tried by a judge. The judge can sentence the young person to time in a juvenile detention facility or to various diversion programs, counseling or therapy programs (such as Associated Marine Institutes, Youth Advocacy Programs (YAP), or the PACE Center for Girls). In many cases the judge can commit the juvenile or kid to protection by the determination of juvenile justice.
  • Sentencing: As stated before, the judge has many sentencing options and in many instances will side with the pre-disposition where the defendant makes sentencing recommendations. A juvenile criminal lawyer may get involved to add or modify the report to help your child avoid the threat of serious sanctions.
  • Criminal Court : If the juvenile is going to be tried as an adult – if they committed a felony or violent crime – the juvenile’s case could be heard in adult criminal court. All the same rules of the criminal court apply. While the juvenile system is specifically interested in rehabilitation, that is not the case with the adult criminal system. Our goal as your defense attorney is always to avoid having a juvenile tried as an adult.
  • Probation : Even after a young person completes their sentence or diversion program, they may be on probation for months or years. During the time they are on probation, they will need to check in with their probation officer regularly. Failing to do so could result in going back to a juvenile facility.

Contact The Umansky Law Firm Today

If your child is a juvenile charged with any kind of crime, contact our  Orlando juvenile attorneys day or night. Your consultation is free. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. We are also able to set up a reasonable payment plan.

Recent Criminal
Case Results

Burglary of Dwelling; Petit Theft

Withhold with 6 months probation and impulse control; adjudication withheld

Grand Theft ($300-$5000)

Nolle Prosequi-Case Dropped

CT-Driving Under the Influence Car (M1)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

CT- Driving under the influence car

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

Grand Theft Third Degree

Adjudicated Guilty; One day jail/one day time serve; Restitution fees; Court Cost

Petit Theft < 300

We negotiated an agreement that entailed the State dropping the charge after our client completed a Pre-Trial Diversion Program. The Charge was dropped via a Nolle Prosequi.

Unlawful Speeding

Withhold of Adjudication; No points on license; Paid fine and clerk cost; 8 hour aggressive driver class; 90 days to satisfy fine and class

Shoot/Throw Missile Into Dwell/Struct/Veh; Child Abuse; Criminal Mischief; Battery (Domestic Violence)

No Information Notice - Charges Dropped

Attach Tag/Lic Plate To Unassigned Vehicle (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped

DUI with Minor In Car or BAL of .20 or Higher

Pled No Contest, 1 Year Probation, 10 day Car Impound, Community Service

Motion to Modify Probation

Motion Granted in 48 hours

Petit Theft

Adjudication Withheld, 4 Months probation, Costs/Fines, Impulse Control Class

Petit Theft of $100 or MORE (M1)

Nolle Prosequi

Refuse To Submit To DUI Test (M1)

Case Dropped

Battery on Law Enforcement Officer (F3); Disorderly Conduct (M2)

Nolle Prosequi - Case Dropped


Charges Dropped

Scheme to Defraud(F3); Grand Theft(F3)

Motion to Terminate Probation Granted

Unlawful Speed


Failed to Yield at Intersection

Not Guilty

Leave Scene Of A Crash W/Property Damage (M2)

Case Dropped

Motion to Modify and Impose a Withhold of Adjudication


Attempted Burglary of a Conveyance

Charges dropped

Possession of Cannabis (less than 20 grams)

Charges dropped


Reduced to reckless driving

Possession of Alcohol Under the Age of 21

Charges dropped

Driving Under the Influence

Reduced to Reckless Driving

Violation of Probation

Case Dismissed

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