Florida Teen Court Information
Teen Court is a diversionary program for first-time nonviolent offenders giving the offender a second chance while still holding them accountable. As an alternative to trial, Teen Court offers juveniles who are facing criminal charges a chance to have the charges against them dismissed. The State Attorney conducts a stringent review of cases for consideration of this program, has all the parties sign a contract to the terms in order to complete the program, requires the accused to continue attending school and have no new criminal arrests. A violation of the terms of the Teen Court program will result in an automatic termination of the program and a return of the case to the Juvenile Court Trial docket.
At Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law, our Orlando attorneys represent teenagers throughout Central Florida. We understand that teenagers can make mistakes that result in criminal charges being brought against them. The Teen Court program gives first-time nonviolent offenders the second chance they deserve. This is a peer-oriented program for youths aged 12 to 18 years old. The intent of the program is to teach the youth more about the criminal justice system while they are taking responsibility for the criminal actions. The initial determination for acceptance is made by the State Attorneys office who will review the charges and discuss this option with the victim. The Teen Court coordinator will then set up an interview with the accused and the family or legal guardian. This interview is intended to review the Teen Court Program and sign the program participation contract. Once this process is completed, the youth is scheduled for a teen court date.
The program participants are assisted throughout the program by other youths and program volunteers. The only adult in the teen court courtroom is the judge. (the judge is typically a local attorney who volunteers for the teen court program) The teen volunteers will act as the defense attorney, prosecuting attorney, bailiff, clerk and jury. Other youth program volunteers will then determine the appropriate punishment or sanctions for the youth’s criminal offense. The Teen Court program is usually performed in an actual courtroom with an area for witnesses, the accused, the volunteer youths, jury, and the judge. This program also provides the accused with an opportunity to explain their involvement and present testimony for a reduced or limited sanction. The accused will usually start the presentation with an explanation of the case and then present testimony for favorable sanctions. The accused will often explain more about themselves such as school, club and sport interests, school grades and plans for the future.
Florida Teen Court for First-Time Offenders
Teen Court is intended to divert cases from the Juvenile Criminal court docket to the less serious Teen Court program. The defendants are given the opportunity to:
- Explain their criminal actions
- Be judged by a jury of their peers
- Take responsibility for their actions
A teen who participates in Teen Court may be required to:
- Do community service
- Write a report of the incident
- Make restitution
- Serve on the Teen Court jury
- Write a report on plans for the future or how they plan to be a better person in the future
The Florida Teen Court program is designed with Fundamental Principles:
- Respect for Confidentiality
- Respect for the justice system
- Respect for the rights of others
- Development of personal values
- Respect for societal values
- Acceptance of responsibility
- Development of objectivity
The program is designed for teens to take responsibility for their mistakes and rehabilitate their behavior. Once completed, the criminal charges against the teen are dismissed and may be expunged.
Our attorneys understand that sometimes teenagers make mistakes that can result in criminal charges. We believe that first-time nonviolent offenders deserve an experienced criminal defense team, and we are dedicated to helping you, your son or your daughter obtain that second chance.