The Florida Youthful Offender Act was originally passed in 1978. The act was passed in order to help improve the chances of successful reentry into the community of young criminal offenders who have served jail time.

Brief History

This act was originally passed in order to improve the possibility of rehabilitation of younger criminals by preventing their association with the older and more experienced criminals in prison. The act was also meant to provide an additional sentencing alternative to an individual who could no longer be treated as a juvenile, and who required closer supervision than by simple community supervision. Since the act has been passed, there have been several successful programs implemented, including programs for substance abuse as well as other types of counseling programs.

Youthful Offender Sentencing

The court is able to sentence a defendant as a youthful offender if

  • The defendant is at least 18 years of age, but less than 21 years of age at the time of sentencing. The defendant can also be labeled as a youthful offender if he or she is under 18 years of age, but was prosecuted as an adult.
  • The defendant has been found guilty of a felony, unless he or she was found guilty of a capital or life felony.
  • The defendant has not previously been classified as a youthful offender before.

The court has a number of different ways they might sentence a youthful offender. The most common sentences are:

  •    No more than 364 days in a county facility
  •    Community supervision
  •    Prison incarceration
  •    A split sentence of incarceration and community supervision

For youthful offenders, the total length of jail time, community supervision, or split sentence, can be no longer then 6 months.

If a court sentences a youthful offender to probation, community supervision, or jail as a condition of probation, a judge may, but is not required to, withhold adjudication of guilt. This would allow the youthful offender’s civil rights to be maintained.

If your minor child has been charged with a crime, don’t wait. Contact a knowledgeable attorney to defend their case. The skilled attorneys at KLG are experienced at defending youthful offenders and will fight vigorously for your child’s rights.