Minors in Florida who are charged with certain types of felony offenses may be eligible to enter into a special pretrial intervention program in lieu of adjudication. The program may offer a way for juveniles to avoid adjudication on their charges while also allowing them to get the help that they need.

Minors who are charged with second- or third-degree felony offenses for possessing drugs, trying to obtain drugs with fraudulent prescriptions, solicitation to possess drugs or tampering with evidence are eligible to voluntarily enter the program if they do not have prior felony convictions on their records. The program includes drug education and treatment components along with a drug treatment court.

If the prosecutor believes that the minor was involved in selling drugs, the court must hold a hearing prior to approving the minor for admission into the program. If the prosecutor presents enough evidence to show that the minor was involved in drug sales, the court will deny the minor’s admission to the pretrial drug intervention program. During the program, the minors must comply with the various requirements placed on them by their drug court team. At the end of it, the judge will enter written findings of whether or not the minors successfully completed the program. If they do, their charges will be dismissed.

Minors who are facing charges may benefit from getting the help of experienced criminal defense attorneys who represent juveniles. The juvenile law differs from the adult criminal law, making it important for people to find lawyers who understand how the law differs. Attorneys may be able to secure alternative plea agreements or diversion agreements that protect their clients’ records. This may help them to keep their records clear so that they might be able to attend college and enter adulthood without the impediments that convictions can bring.

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