A minor who is taken into custody in Florida might be sent to a juvenile assessment center (JAC). One of the key benefits of a JAC is that a police officer does not have to wait for a parent or guardian to pick the minor up. Instead, the minor can be processed and the officer can go back to patrolling the streets. However, there are times in which a minor is not accepted into a JAC.
Florida has a state law that aims to prevent teens under 16 from being out in public places late at night. These laws are generally intended to protect teens' safety as well as cut down on petty crimes. The Florida curfew bars minors from being out in public places between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. between Sundays and Thursdays except in the case of legal holidays.
According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, there's been a large increase in the number of juveniles arrested for weapon possession in the last five years. This statistic seems to coincide with the increase in gun violence committed by and targeted at teenagers. Both mass shootings and incidents between gangs are major problems in the state.
Multiple cases of teenage boys heading to court after threatening their schools have occurred throughout Florida. A 13-year-old from Silver Trail Middle School in Fort Lauderdale now faces a second-degree felony charge after mentioning in class on Oct. 4 that he wished he could shoot up his school. That statement caused his teacher to report him to the police officer on duty at the school.
Individuals under the age of 21 in Florida are subject to "zero tolerance" alcohol laws. In addition to not being allowed to possess or consume alcohol, they are not permitted to drive with a blood alcohol content higher than .02 percent. This is lower than the .08 percent legal limit that drivers 21 and over are subject to. In fact, drivers under 21 can be charged with a DUI even if they don't feel or appear to be drunk.
On March 19, a 16-year-old Florida teen was accused of murder after he allegedly beat his 15-year-old friend with a baseball bat. Although the accused teen initially claimed that the 15-year-old attacked him first, it was reported that he eventually admitted that the deceased teen never hit him.
In Florida, some juveniles who are charged with serious crimes are tried as adults. In some cases, juveniles have been sentenced to life sentences without the possibility of parole. The federal government has reviewed tough sentencing of juveniles and has made some changes following two Supreme Court decisions. This means that juveniles who have received life without parole sentences may request that those sentences be reviewed.
On June 16, two Florida teenagers were taken into custody after they were accused of threatening a 71-year-old man with a baseball bat. Authorities said the incident may have been caused by road rage.
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.
The Florida state legislature is considering two different ideas that could potentially help keep juveniles who make mistakes from getting into legal trouble. Both of the bills would help minors who commit their first misdemeanor crime by getting them into diversion programs.