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Juvenile Delinquency

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The Juvenile Delinquency Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit consists of three Circuit Court Judges. The court presides over cases involving minors under the age of 18 who have allegedly committed a criminal offense under the Florida Statutes.

After law violations, youth are taken into custody and are transported to the Juvenile Services Division (JSD) for processing. JSD staff will conduct a detention risk assessment to determine whether the child can be legally detained at the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center or released before the first court hearing. If a minor has committed a first or second non-violent offense, the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) may choose to offer the minor a diversion program. This is when the State agrees not to prosecute the minor if the minor agrees to certain conditions. If conditions of the diversion program are not met, the SAO can bring the case back to court for prosecution. If the minor is detained, a detention hearing must be heard within 24 hours of being taken into custody. At the time of the detention hearing, an attorney will be appointed if the minor/family has the inability to obtain counsel. At the time of the detention hearing, the judge will determine one of three levels of supervision: secure, non-secure, or home detention. If a minor is charged with certain felony offenses, the SAO can choose to “direct file” a case to adult court. If a case is direct filed, the minor is charged as an adult and faces the same sanctions as an adult.

If a case remains in the Juvenile Division, the court must follow Chapter 985 of the Florida Statues and Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedures. The main hearings in a delinquency case (detention hearings, filing of petition, arraignment, trial and disposition) are required to meet statutory guidelines.

The Juvenile Delinquency Division of the court, state agencies, and community partners work closely together with the goal of rehabilitation and/or treatment of the child and family rather than punishment.