Youthful Offender Law
In Florida, if you are a young adult under the age of 21, and charged with a crime requiring jail or prison sentence, the youthful offender statute provides the court system with an alternative way to sentence you to avoid a long incarceration period. Since you no longer qualify for juvenile sanctions, the youthful offender act provides more supervision than standard community programs offer. The youthful offender law was passed to give young adults an opportunity to depart from a lengthy prison sentence and return to the community to pursue rehabilitation, community supervision and or a split sentence of incarceration and supervision. The law was passed by the legislature to give young adults, who would normally be in adult criminal court, an opportunity to serve a less severe sentence.Who Qualifies as a Youthful Offender?
Pursuant to Florida Statute 958.04 a court can sentence an individual as a youthful offender if the following criteria are met:
- An individual is at least 18 years old and is tried in adult court.
- The individual entered a guilty or no contest plea and the crime was committed prior to the individual turning 21 years old.
- The individual has not previously been classified as a youthful offender and has not committed a capital or life felony.
- The court may place a youthful offender on probation or community control and may withhold adjudication (avoiding a criminal conviction). This is especially important to preserve the individuals civil rights.
- The court may impose jail time in addition to probation and/or community control. The incarceration period shall be served at a county facility, department probation and restitution center, or a community residential facility.
- The court can also impose a split sentence involving both jail time and probation or community control.
- The court can also sentence the youthful offender to custody of the department for a maximum of 6 years, so long as that period does not exceed the statutory maximum sentence.
If an individual is sentenced under the youthful offender statute and placed on probation they will be monitored for a set period of time and may be required to complete specific conditions related to probation. There are two types of violations that can occur while on probation. The distinction is as follows:
- A technical violation of probation occurs when an individual fails to complete the conditions required while o probation.
- A substantive violation of probation occurs if you commit a new crime while on probation.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Florida, hire an experienced Sarasota Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss if you or a loved one meets the criteria to qualify under the Youthful Offender Law. To schedule a consultation contact our office at (941) 893-5816 or contact us online.