If a minor commits a crime in Florida, he/she will often be subject to
the juvenile court system. Unlike the criminal court system that is designed
to punish adults, the purpose of the juvenile court system is to rehabilitate
juvenile offenders to help them avoid becoming repeat offenders when they’re adults.
However, if a youth offender is found guilty in juvenile court, he/she
either could be placed on probation and subject counseling and/or community
service or placed in juvenile prison.
Fortunately, there are several pretrial diversion programs for first-time
juvenile offenders (between 8th and 12th grade), which is often referred to as “Teen Court.”
Before being accepted into the program, the juvenile offender must plead
guilty. If an offender successfully completes the program, he/she will
not have a conviction on his/her criminal record.
Teen Court works by having a trial in front of other former juvenile offenders
and get sentenced by their own peers. Participants in the program are
represented by a teen attorney or prosecutor.
Basically, Teen Court provides a glimpse of how the juvenile court system
works. When children take the message to heart and do well in the program,
they often thrive and do not become repeat offenders.
Juvenile offenders can be subject to the following sanctions in the Teen
- Community service
- Counseling sessions
- Online substance abuse courses
- Anger management classes
- Jury duty
- Letters of apology
Program participants typically have four to eight weeks to complete the
program requirements. Failure to complete these sanctions results in the
case going to juvenile court.
Teen Court often doesn’t work for gang members or hardened criminals.
On the last blog post of this series, we will discuss the Volusia County
Other pretrial services in Volusia County include:
For more information about Teen Court in Volusia County,
contact the Law Offices of Robert Stepniak today and request a free consultation.