No person younger than age 18 at the time of a committed crime is eligible for the death penalty since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it was a violation of the 8th Amendment in Roper v. Simmons, according to the Florida Dept. of Justice.
There are a few other important sentencing differences between juveniles and adults in Florida. There are certain charges that will not stand against a juvenile, for instance, battery against a police officer. Instead, the juvenile is charged with the lesser offense of “resisting arrest.”
Criminals sentenced as juveniles will be placed under house arrest or in a juvenile detention center. This is not the same as prison, as it is meant for temporary detention in which the juvenile receives supervision, education and mental health/substance abuse services from certified juvenile crime specialists.
With more serious offenses, such as murder, Florida courts have the discretion to sentence juveniles to life without parole. However, Florida is also one of seven states that allows life sentences without parole for crimes in which nobody was killed, such as armed robbery. According to a New York Times article, Florida holds 77 of just over 100 such juvenile offenders in the United States.
According to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, parents can be held liable for restitution to the victim. This means that if, for instance, a juvenile destroyed a victim’s car, and the court orders the victim be paid market value for the car, the child and the child’s parents are liable. If the court adjudicates the juvenile “delinquent,” that is, unwilling or unable to pay the restitution, the mother’s paycheck will be garnished in order to make the payment. This is only possible if the court makes the parent liable in the original sentencing for the crime.
Charging as an Adult:
When the court deems an offense too serious for temporary detention, the child is sentenced as an adult and sent to a prison with an adult population. The judge usually, but not always, has to give a reason for transferring the juvenile to an adult court to be tried as an adult.
The court sometimes holds the juvenile in the detention center until he receives a sentence as an adult, or sometimes even until reaching a certain age, usually 19, for transfer to the adult facility.
At Valkenburg Law Group, P.A. we believe in investigating each and every case by working with private investigators, who will search for evidence to utilizing expert witnesses that may testify in court. We will always ensure our client’s rights are fully protected and that every client receives the best criminal representation possible in a court of law. Contact our offices at 813-514-1058.