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Criminal Law Field Placement Clinic Resource Guide

A research and guidance resource for student's in the NSU Shepard Broad College of Law Criminal Law Field Placement Clinic.

Florida Statutes Chapter 985. Juvenile Justice; Interstate Compact on Juveniles

In Florida, juvenile delinquency proceedings are governed by the Chapter 985, Florida Statutes and the Florida Rules of Juvenile Procedure. Distinct from it's adult counterpart, juvenile delinquency and the Florida juvenile justice system focuses primarily on treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment. Legal terminology, timing rules, additional parties involved (DJJ, CEPAS, etc.), court procedure and much more are all different in juvenile delinquency. Still, elements of the charges and their defenses are the same. These divisions do not have jury trials. Instead, all trials are bench trials and held in front of the presiding judge. Use the below resources to familiarize yourself with the Florida statutes and rules governing juvenile delinquency proceedings. 

Florida Juvenile Delinquency Benchbook

This clickable and easily navigable text is provided by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to give Florida judges an outline of the juvenile delinquency process. It is a concise reference tool that summarizes every step of the juvenile delinquency case. Most helpful to CLI's in the program will be the the Overview of the Juvenile Delinquency Process (p.1) and List of Commonly Used Acronyms (p. 3). Breakdowns of the different types of juvenile hearings are also provided. Browse this text to get a foundational understanding of juvenile delinquency proceedings.

Treatises and Annotated Rules

Detention Hearings

Within 24 hours of a juvenile's detainment (juvenile term for arrest/incarceration), the juvenile (also commonly referred to as "child" or "youth")  will be subject to a detention hearing. Juvenile detention is the "the temporary care of a child in secure or supervised release detention, pending a court adjudication or disposition or execution of a court order.” F.S. 985.03(18). 1 Florida Juvenile Law and Practice § 4.6.A (2020).  Detention Hearings will standardly be the first interaction prosecutors and defense attorneys have with their case, sometimes even before a petition (juvenile charging document) is filed. Review the below resources to familiarize yourself with the levels of detention and criteria for meeting each. 


"The primary purpose of juvenile sentencing in Florida is remedial. This is in contrast with adult sentencing, in which the primary goal is punishment. It is also a reflection of progressive evolution from the common law, under which children were generally prosecuted as adults, although they were able to assert the defense of incapacity by reason of infancy. As a result of this evolution, Florida sentencing law makes sharp distinctions between children and adults." 25 Fla Jur Family Law § 466. It is imperative that those practicing in juvenile divisions become familiar with disposition and sentencing procedures; especially the differing requirements of the various levels of probation, community control, and commitment.