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Youth Offender Statutes

Florida uses the Youthful Offender Act to provide the court with adult sentencing alternatives for certain offenders who are under 21. Be accepted into the program is an excellent alternative to spending time in jail.

Instead of spending time behind bars, you will be required to participate in programs that can better your chances of having a successful reentry back into society. If you have any questions regarding the program, you should contact legal representation.

Juvenile Defense Attorney in Melbourne, FL

If you are a young adult who has been charged with a felony, you should contact the Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy right away. Even if you are older than 21, there is still a chance you could be sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act. Don’t delay. Contact the Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy today.

The requirements and conditions associated with the program can be difficult to understand and even more difficult to navigate on your own. Bryan McCarthy is experienced in working with youthful offenders in Florida. He will guide you through the process and find the best legal options available for your situation.

Schedule a time to speak with the Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy about your case. Call (321) 253-3447 or submit your information in the online contact form. We represent clients in counties that include Brevard County, Volusia County and Indian River County.

Information Center

  • What is the Youthful Offender Act?
  • What is a Youthful Offender?
  • Sentencing Options for Youthful Offenders
  • Guidelines for Florida’s Youthful Offender Program
  • Additional Resources

What is the Youthful Offender Act?

Florida enacted the Youthful Offender Act in 1978 as a way to improve the chances of rehabilitating and a successfully returning of a “youthful offender” back into the community.

This is done by preventing the minor from associating with older, more experienced criminals while in confinement, and providing them with educational, counseling, vocational and public service opportunities.

To keep the minor from associating with older criminals, the act allows the court sentencing alternatives to be used when they are dealing with offenders who they believe can no longer be handled as juveniles. These offenders typically required more restrictions than what is provided by community supervision.

What is a Youthful Offender?

When we think of youth, we typically think of children and teenagers. Under the Youthful Offender Act, even young adults can be considered a youthful offender. There are multiple ways you could be sentenced as a youthful offender under the act:

  • You are at least 18 but less than 21 at the time of sentencing, or you are younger than 18, and your case was transferred to adult court.
  • You plead no contest or were found guilty of a felony crime. Capital or life felony crimes do not qualify.
  • You have not previously been classified as a youthful offender.

If the court does not sentence you as a youthful offender, there is a chance the Florida Department of Corrections may assign you to the program. If you are younger than 25 and were not sentenced under the act, the FDC may still classify you as a youthful offender if you meet the eligibility criteria.

You could also be sentenced under the program if you were younger than 25 but more than 21 at the time of sentencing and your total sentencing did not exceed 10 years. If you have questions regarding you or your child’s eligibility under the Youthful Offender Act, you should speak with an attorney.

Sentencing Options for Youthful Offenders

The courts are granted more alternatives when it comes to sentencing youthful offenders. Instead of facing the standard jail time and fines, a youthful offender could be sentenced to the following per 958.04 of the Youthful Offender Act:

  • Probation or a community control program for no more than six years, with or without an adjudication of guilt
  • No more than 364 days in either a county facility, probation and restitution center or a community residential facility
  • A split sentence of incarceration and community supervision for no more than six years

Guidelines for Florida’s Youthful Offender Program

If you are sentenced under the program, there are statutory guidelines that you will be required to abide by. For starters, you will be required to complete an educational and substance abuse assessment when you are admitted to the program.

If you do not have a high school diploma, you will be required to enroll in an adult education program. This program will help improve your academic skills and earn a high school diploma. The youthful offender program will assess any of your prior vocational skill and provide you with career education for the future.

There are numerous other career, academic, counseling and rehabilitative programs that you may be required to participate in. These programs are listed in section 958.12 of the act, and they could include:

  • Life and socialization skills training such as anger and aggression control
  • Social services
  • Athletic, recreational and leisure activities
  • Medical and dental healthcare
  • Psychological and psychiatric services
  • Religious services and counseling
  • Library services
  • Mail and visiting privileges

Additional Resources for Youthful Offenders Statutes

Youthful Offenders | Florida Statutes– Follow this link to read the full text of the Youthful Offenders Act. You can learn more about the act’s intent, sealing and expunction of records and what happens if you violate probation or community control program. The statute can be read on Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature.

Youthful Offender Designation | The Florida Senate– Read the Interim Report from the Florida Senate about the Youthful Offender program. You can learn more about the history of the program, special provisions for juveniles and vulnerable adults and statutory guidelines.

Juvenile Defense Lawyer in Melbourne, FL

Do not try to handle your felony charges on your own. There is too much risk involved. The Law Offices of Bryan J. McCarthy is experienced working with juveniles and young adults. They will advocate on your behalf and achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

To schedule a free case consultation, call (321) 248-7742 or submit your information in the online contact form. We represent clients in areas that include Palm Shores, West Melbourne, Palm Bay, Deer Park, Cocoa West and many more.