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Juvenile Diversion Programs

Every individual under the age of 18 years old who is charged with a crime in the state of Florida gets referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The DJJ provides a recommendation to the State Attorney and the court for appropriate disciplinary measures, many of which allow the alleged juvenile offender to remain in his or her home.

A popular option can often be one of the many diversion programs in Florida created as alternatives to the juvenile justice system. These programs provide quick resolutions as well as intervention that helps prevent future criminal activity.

West Palm Beach Juvenile Diversion Programs Lawyer

If your child has been charged with a criminal offense, it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney so you can obtain the most favorable possible outcome to your case. Andrew D. Stine, P.A. helps youth offenders in West Palm Beach, Belle Glade, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth, Boca Raton, Riviera Beach, and other cities.

Andrew Stine’s more than a decade of experience includes time spent in the Palm Beach County Appellate Division and the New Haven Public Defenders Office. He knows what it takes for your child to be accepted into a diversion program, and he can discuss your options when you call his firm at 561.880.4300 for a free consultation.


Palm Beach County Juvenile Diversion Programs Info


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Juvenile Diversion Programs in Florida

Diversion programs offer multiple benefits for the youth offenders they serve. Some of the characteristics of these programs may include:

There are several different juvenile justice programs in Florida that each have their own unique eligibility, rules, and requirements.


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Community Arbitration

Florida Statute § 985.16 states that “the purpose of community arbitration is to provide a system by which children who commit delinquent acts may be dealt with in a speedy and informal manner at the community or neighborhood level, in an attempt to reduce the ever-increasing instances of delinquent acts and permit the judicial system to deal effectively with cases which are more serious in nature.”

If the Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) recommends community arbitration and the state attorney approves, a community arbitrator or community arbitration panel may:


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Juvenile Alternative Services Program (JASP)

The DJJ, the state attorney’s office, or the court may refer youth offenders to JASP. Youths referred to this program have to meet probation criteria and/or have a minimum of four extensive service needs, such as family dysfunction, housing, running away, school problems like truancy or suspension, substance abuse, or other behavioral or mental health problems.

JASP providers meet with youths and at least one parent or guardian to explain how the program works, review sanctions and services, discuss completion dates, and explain expectations of the program. All sanctions and intervention services need to be completed by the youth within 90 days of the date the case was received by JASP.


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Juvenile First Offender Program (JFO)

The Palm Beach County Sherriff’s Office’s JFO Program is a voluntary program for first-time misdemeanor offenders arrested for crimes such as criminal mischief, possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana under 20 grams, possession of marijuana paraphernalia, shoplifting, simple battery, or trespass. A youth offender needs to admit guilt, sign a statement waiving their rights to due process, and be willing to actively participate in the program.

Sanctions such as anti-theft or anger management classes, being subject to random drug testing, community service, observing a curfew, participating in youth court, paying restitution, taking a tour of the jail, and writing essays or a letter of apology are assigned at an arbitration hearing to encourage the youth to think about the consequences of their actions. The JFO program is typically completed within 90 days, and no criminal charges are filed if the youth complies with the requirements and sanctions of the program.


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Teen Court

The DJJ, state attorney, juvenile court, law enforcement, Children in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services (CINS / FINS) provider, public defender, traffic court or school officials may refer cases to Teen Court. These venues allow some first time juvenile offenders to have their cases reviewed by a jury of their peers. Alleged youth offenders accused of third-degree felonies involving grand theft auto, use of a weapon, or violence toward a person are ineligible for the program.

A youth offender will typically be assigned certain sanction, and will then participate in the Teen Court process as a jury member after successfully completing his or her assigned sanctions.


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Intensive Delinquency Diversion Services (IDDS)

The IDDS program specifically focuses on youth offenders who may be at risk of becoming serious and chronic offenders. The JPO uses the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) 46-item, multiple choice initial pre-screen assessment to determine if the youth meets the moderate-high or high risk to reoffend requirement needed for IDDS eligibility. However, alleged youth offenders who have a minimum of one documented risk factor in three of the four areas of Family, School, Substance Abuse or Delinquency based upon the PACT pre-screen may still be eligible for referral to IDDS.

An IDDS case manager meets with the youth and parent to obtain their signatures that indicate their understanding of the program’s expectations. The alleged youth offender will be successfully terminated form the program if he or she completes all assigned sanctions and services.


Find the Best Juvenile Diversion Programs Lawyer in West Palm Beach

There may be other diversion programs not listed here that can be used as an alternative to a criminal record. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review your child’s case and determine the legal strategy that may result in the most favorable resolution.

Andrew D. Stine, P.A. represents alleged youth offenders throughout Palm Beach County, including communities such as Palm Springs, Tequesta, Lantana, Jupiter, Wellington, and Lake Park. Call 561.880.4300 today to schedule a free consultation.