Under Florida sentencing guidelines, criminal defendants may face enhanced penalties and harsher punishments if the motivation for their misdeed is based on race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin or religion. According to statistics, race continues to be the most common motivating factor in Florida hate crimes, followed closely by sexual orientation and religion.
For anyone facing a possible term of incarceration, receiving a sentence of probation can bring welcomed relief from the difficulties of lock-up. However, as your Sarasota probation violation attorney will explain, the definition of probation is “the testing or trial of a person’s conduct, character, qualifications, or the like” – and the court will quickly revoke your probationary term if your conduct and character do not pass the test.
According to recent statistics compiled by various Florida county law enforcement agencies, diversionary programs are making a great impact within the jurisdictions choosing to invest in these alternative punishment pathways. While not every Florida county has opted into the diversionary program, the ones that have are contributing to a plummeting juvenile arrest rate which has steadily declined as much as eight percent over the past several years.
The story gripped the nation: two teenagers – one just 13 years old, the other 18 – appeared to be drunk in love and careening out of control across the Southeastern United States.
Teen and ‘tween ‘sexting’ has become an unfortunate and dangerous component of the digital world of youth and adolescence. In response to this phenomenon, the Florida Legislature put together a set of laws drafted, so they thought, to differentiate between the exchange of graphic images between two juveniles and the trafficking of child pornography between vulnerable children and lascivious adults.
The U.S. Constitution contains an explicit ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Over the years, this clause has been interpreted over several generations of case law, tackling unique and sensitive issues relating to capital punishment of vulnerable members of society, namely, juveniles and those with mental and cognitive impairment. The former, which includes any offender who has not yet reached his 18th birthday, is fodder for ongoing debate, often resulting in presentation before the U.S. Supreme Court for resolution.
Shoplifting: a term often associated with young teenagers and their penchant for swiping a candy bar or, at worse, a video game from the local department store. While true, some shoplifting misdeeds fall within the category of petit (or “petty”) theft, others can quickly amount to a felony grand larceny charge – even if the item seems small or insignificant.
As New Year’s Eve approaches, you may be dutifully planning your dinner, drinks and dancing schedule for the evening. Of course, the end of the year brings about much-deserved relaxation and restoration for many, and it is not uncommon for revelers to partake in some (or most) of the celebratory champagne as it is passed around at midnight.
The Florida Youthful Offender Act (the “Act”) was enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1978 to provide young adults who would normally be prosecuted in adult criminal court, with a more flexible and less harsh sentencing program. Florida Statute Section 958.021 explains that a primary purpose behind the Act is to increase the likelihood of rehabilitating and successfully returning young adult offenders (“youthful offenders”) to society by preventing their interaction with older and more experienced criminals in the prison system. Under the Act, youthful offenders are given increased vocational, educational, counseling and public service opportunities and they must participate in substance abuse and other forms of counseling. Members of the community are also encouraged to volunteer their time and skills to help youthful offenders reintegrate into their communities.