When you have a child charged with a Florida criminal offense, you may have serious concerns about how the charge might impact his or her life if it leads to a conviction. You may feel especially fearful if there is a chance that your child may undergo prosecution as an adult. The repercussions associated with adult criminal acts are often much more serious than those associated with juvenile offenses.
According to the National Juvenile Defender Center, many Florida youths undergo prosecution as adults despite the state having a juvenile court system. What circumstances might lead your child to undergo prosecution as an adult?
When statutory exclusion applies
If your child is at least 16 and alleged to have committed a statutorily delineated offense, he may face adult penalties for a conviction. However, he or she must have also had delinquent adjudication due to a prior felony offense for the state to file charges against him or her in adult court.
When prosecutorial discretion applies
If your child is 14 or older and alleged to have committed a statutorily delineated offense, it is up to the state attorney whether to try your son or daughter as an adult.
When discretionary judicial transfer applies
If your child is at least 14 and has certain offenses or a delinquency history, the prosecutor on the case may request that the case undergo transfer to adult court.
When he or she already received a conviction as an adult
If your child already has a conviction for an offense for which the state tried him or her as an adult, any future offenses are also going to transfer to adult court.
Sometimes, your child may be able to take certain actions to lower the chances of him or her undergoing prosecution as an adult.