Juvenile Delinquency
The Juvenile Delinquency Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit consists of four Circuit Court Judges and judicial staff. 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 Assessment Center (JAC) for processing. JAC 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 of 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 Delinquency division of the Juvenile 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 own counsel. At the time of the detention hearing, the judge will determine one of three levels of supervision: secure detention, non-secure detention and 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 to adult court, 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 State Attorneys office files a delinquency petition. This petition is the charging document which outlines the formal charges. The Adjudicatory Hearing (trial) is required to be heard within 90 days of the juvenile being taken into custody or the filing of a delinquency petition. The court may find the juvenile to be delinquent and adjudicate the minor as delinquent or withhold the adjudication. After adjudicating the minor, the court has several options for disposition; such as Probation with certain conditions or restrictions, commitment to a Department of Juvenile Justice Program, mental health or drug treatment, community service, or restitution.

Many community partners are involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Juvenile Delinquency Division of the court. All partners work closely together with the goal of rehabilitation and/or treatment of the child and family rather than punishment.
Related Information
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