The Florida court system does have a few exceptional rules when prosecuting a minor, but for the most part, the process is the same as prosecuting an adult. Punishment may be light in some cases but not always. When a judge imposes a harsh penalty on a minor, the parents typically want to appeal the decision, especially if the ruling will affect the life of the defendant going forward. Juveniles who get in serious trouble with the law often are tried as adults when they are near age 18, and parents may attempt to potentially lessen the burden through the appeals process.
Charges cannot be appealed
Criminal charges cannot be appealed in the court system. Juvenile crimes only result in charges being filed by police officers after an investigation into potential illegal activity reveals probable cause. The law applies to minors as well as adults, but the manner in which adjudication is handed down differs somewhat. This can include deferred judgments as well as detention of a juvenile.
Filing appeals following a conviction in juvenile court works the same as with an adult in most cases. However, bench rulings before the trial are not subject to an appeal, especially if the juvenile defendant pleads guilty. An appeal can only be filed after a juvenile has been tried and found guilty by a jury.
All potential appellants in Florida should understand that there is no right of appealing a case to the state’s highest court. Most cases are settled at the state district appeals level that will render a final ruling of either substantive or procedural error on the part of the original jurisdictional court. No new evidence is allowed in a typical appeal unless the lower court erred in allowing material exonerating evidence.