Can a Juvenile Be Tried as an Adult in Florida?

Virtually all children will make mistakes as they grow up. Like adults, these can range in severity, from harmless pranks to pointedly bad decisions. When a child under the age of 18 makes a bad decision that is illegal or has caused serious repercussions, they are generally tried in juvenile court. However, if the prosecutor deems the action as dangerous or serious enough, they may decide to charge the juvenile as an adult.

If your child is currently being tried as an adult or is at risk of being tried as an adult, it is vital you contact a dedicated and highly knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Fighter Law has represented the Central Florida region for many years and has successfully helped the majority of our clients get the best results possible for their case. A child facing adult charges is a frightening and very serious situation, and it’s pertinent that a lawyer begin building a case immediately. 

When Can Juveniles Be Tried as an Adult in Florida? 

Florida currently leads the pack when it comes to trying children as adults. In the last five years, there have been almost 5,000 children under the age of 18 charged with felonies in the adult system. Florida has a “direct file” statute, meaning they can bypass the normal steps taken to refer a juvenile’s case to an adult case. 

Most states require that the prosecutor obtain a judge’s written consent before trying the child as an adult. Florida’s direct filing means prosecutors get to skip this step and do not have to have oversight from a judge. Common examples of felonies juveniles are charged as adults over can include: 

  • Arson 
  • Robbery
  • Sexual Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Grand theft
  • Murder
  • Manslaughter

The age of the perpetrator, their prior arrest records, and the severity of the crime are all taken into consideration by the prosecutor before direct filing. If you believe you or your child is being unfairly tried as an adult, an attorney can help you file to waive the decision. However, if a juvenile has already been tried as an adult once, there is no reversing the situation. 

Consequences of Being Tried as an Adult 

Being tried as an adult immediately disqualifies you from the perks of being tried as a juvenile, the most common of which is having your record expunged at a later date. This is done for children to give them a fighting chance as an adult. It makes finding a job, buying a home, and your overall quality of life better. 

Adult charges are far more severe and can result in longer jail sentences, higher fines, and longer-lasting consequences. Having a record will make finding employment more difficult. It is also likely to affect your ability to drive a motor vehicle, vote, secure financial aid for college, and purchase a firearm. It also does not come with an automatic expungement, which typically means an entirely new filing process and fees. 

Is Your Child at Risk of Being Tried as an Adult? Fighter Law Can Help 

Navigating criminal charges takes a lot of concentration and effort, especially if you are a juvenile being wrongly tried as an adult. The board-certified team at Fighter Law will use every resource we have to help you and your family get the best possible outcome for your case. Using our years of experience, we will immediately get to work and begin investigating and building your child’s defense. 

Don’t wait another minute to contact an attorney at Fighter Law. Our people-first approach means you have access to us whenever you need it, with any concern or question. Start the process today with a free consultation by calling us at (407) 344-4837 or by filling out our online contact form.


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