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Trying Juveniles as Adults

In the Florida criminal court system, as with most states’ systems, a “juvenile” is a minor under the age of eighteen. Typically, juvenile offenders are tried in the juvenile court system, which is a completely different court system from the adult system. They may also be held in correctional facilities solely intended for minors. However, sometimes a juvenile will be tried as an adult. 

If you have a child who is in danger of facing the adult criminal system, let an experienced Bradenton juvenile lawyer help.

Are Juveniles Really Tried as Adults in Florida?

Yes, under certain circumstances. In Florida, the minimum age a minor can be tried as an adult is 14 years old. However, there is no minimum age for capital offenses, which are offenses punishable with the death penalty or life imprisonment. 

In 2017, for example, an 11-year-old boy found a shotgun underneath a house and used it to shoot a 12-year old girl to death. According to the arrest warrant, the boy had been “playfully arguing” with the girl. He was charged with manslaughter, which is not a capital offense, and therefore could not try him as an adult.

In 2020, police accused a 13-year-old boy of fatally stabbing his grandmother. The grand jury indicted the boy on a charge of first-degree murder, placing him into the adult criminal justice system.

When Can a Juvenile be Tried as an Adult in Florida?

In Florida, a juvenile can be tried as an adult when:

  • The juvenile was previously tried as an adult because once you have been tried as an adult, you’re always tried as an adult in the future.
  • The juvenile being tried has an extensive criminal history and has not responded to discipline in the juvenile court system.
  • The offense was a serious violent crime, such as armed robbery or murder.
  • The offense was a sexually-motivated crime, such as rape.

Is it Right to Charge Juveniles as Adults?

This depends on who you ask. Advocates of this practice may argue that justice demands it and that the juvenile court system has been found to be ineffective. Naturally, family members and friends of the victims of juvenile crimes typically support the practice.

Opponents of the practice may argue that the system replaces rehabilitation with punishment, that juveniles are ill-equipped to survive in correctional facilities designed for adults, that the system is racially biased, that “tough on crime” laws have been ineffective, and that more appropriate punishments are readily available.

Contact a Bradenton Juvenile Lawyer at The Fowler Law Group if You Have a Child Facing the Adult Court System

No matter which side you support, if you have a child who may be facing the adult court system, let a Bradenton juvenile lawyer at The Fowler Law Group help. Our attorneys understand the law surrounding the various types of crimes juveniles are often charged with, such as drug-related offenses, theft crimes, sex crimes, and even traffic crimes. We know what you’re facing, and we are experienced in juvenile criminal defense. We will fight for your child’s rights. Please contact us online.

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