Juvenile Delinquency in Florida: New Tends in Youth Crime Rate

It is a common belief that as summer descends upon our state, the juvenile crime rate automatically takes a sharp upturn—kids are out of school, they may be bored, restless and many have less formal supervision.

Yet the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) reports the opposite. The DDJ reports that arrests for delinquency are actually at the lowest point during the months when school is traditionally not in session (July, August and December).

In fact, DJJ reveals that over the past two years, delinquency in Florida has declined in all categories since 2011, with the total sum of juvenile arrests down 23 percent. In further support of these numbers, Dan McCarthy, director of the Florida TaxWatch Center, reports that juvenile arrests in Florida have dropped to a 30-year low.

Juvenile Crime Is Down Overall in Florida

What is responsible for this decrease in crime rate? As juvenile law attorneys, we know that many factors have contributed to this trend. One factor can be viewed in terms of arrests vs. civil citations. Since 2011, the Florida DJJ has provided an alternative to arrest in the form of civil citation for first-time juvenile offenders who commit nonviolent acts and admit their offense.

This alternative approach focuses on less-restrictive sanctions for lesser juvenile offenses. Early-intervention services are provided instead of detention. Resources and efforts are made toward the youth’s rehabilitation. Serious sanctions are reserved for those juveniles who are considered to be high risk to public safety.

What Is the Florida Juvenile Justice System?

Juvenile offenders, once charged with a crime in Florida, are referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice. A referral is similar to an arrest in the adult criminal justice system. Yet the Florida juvenile justice system is very different from the rules and procedures of adult courts and the adult prison system.

The Florida juvenile justice system is designed to educate, counsel and impress upon the juvenile offender the consequences of criminal and unlawful actions with the goal of preventing further misconduct, rather than just condemning the minor to outright punishment. The State of Florida takes a rehabilitative approach for first-time juvenile offenders with the goal of keeping the youth or teen from ever becoming a repeat offender.

If your child is charged with juvenile delinquency, what should you do?

Individuals under the age of 18, and their parents or legal guardians, have the right to be represented by a defense attorney any time they face any type of action in the juvenile justice system. You will be best served by having a good, experienced lawyer to represent you through this process.

Delinquency is a broad term that can involve many different offenses and charges. Juvenile Court can be just as scary for children as adult court is for adults. Depending upon the charge, a juvenile offender can be prosecuted as an adult and be subject to the same penalties as an adult. Florida still sends more youths to the adult system than most other states in the country. Because of the serious repercussions and highly complicated nature of a transfer to adult court, a lawyer with experience in Florida’s juvenile justice system can be critical to your child’s case.

In all cases, you should speak to a dedicated juvenile attorney about what is best for your child. Contact Kramer Law for a free, no obligation consultation about your situation: 855-Kramer-Now (855-572-6376).

A full service law firm in Orlando, Florida, our attorneys skillfully and compassionately handle juvenile law cases every day. We work effectively to represent at-risk and delinquent youth within all levels of the Florida juvenile justice system. Our juvenile law attorneys are staunch youth advocates who are committed to defending the accused.

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Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
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