Any time a juvenile is charged with a crime in Florida, a variety of factors are aggregated about the alleged offense, criminal record, and the mental health of the juvenile. Conduct disorder is a commonly seen disorder in juveniles in the criminal justice system.
What Is Conduct Disorder?
While a child is developing, having problems regarding accepting authority is quite common. However, conduct disorder is a long-lasting mental health condition where a child develops clear-cut issues in four areas:
- Aggression – Physical and verbal attacks on other people and possibly animals that go above and beyond brief altercations
- Lack of respect for property – Vandalism and destruction of others’ property
- Chronic lying – Constant, compulsive lies that tend to harm others
- Rule-breaking – Disrespect for rules that lead to decreased social behavior and harm others
Conduct Disorder in Juvenile Law
Juvenile crimes in Florida are often committed by children who have conduct disorder or a related mental malady. Per Florida statutes, a mental health evaluation and screening can be ordered to see if such a disorder is present.
Once a child has been diagnosed with conduct disorder, appropriate behavioral interventions may be able to be put into place. Conduct disorder often goes away as a child gets older and becomes more mature. However, if a child’s conduct disorder is left unaddressed, it could balloon into larger and larger problems as the child becomes an adult. Given that, in some cases, Florida judges opt to charge someone who is under 18 as an adult in aggravating circumstances, dealing with conduct disorder sooner rather than later can help avoid lengthy sentences and trial as an adult.