Teen Court is a diversion program for first time misdemeanor offenders (ages 8-17), which allows offenders to participate in a court conducted by his or her peers instead of going through the customary juvenile court. The youthful offender admits his or her guilt and is sanctioned by a jury of his or her peers. Juveniles have 30-90 days to comply with sanctions. If they do so successfully, the youth will not have a criminal record. If the defendant fails any part of Teen Court, their case is automatically returned to Juvenile Court. Teen Court provides immediate and meaningful consequences. Those who are accepted, and who successfully complete the program, will not be adjudicated delinquent and will be given the opportunity to have their juvenile record expunged (certain charges do not qualify for expungement).
Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program (JDAP)
JDAP is a diversion program that provides service based on the individual youth and family needs. Only youth referred by the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and approved by the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) are accepted. The child must reside within the circuit and be 17 years old or younger. The program usually lasts two to four months. Upon successful completion, all charges are dismissed.
Department of Juvenile Justice Diversionary Program
DJJ also offers a diversionary program for first time youthful offenders while a youth is visiting Northwest Florida who live out of state or the 14 th circuit. The type of charges are non-violent first degree misdemeanors. Violent misdemeanor offenses are on a case by case basis. This program generally occurs during spring break and summer time. All youths refereed to the program must first be approved by the SAO. The youth and parent or guardian must sign a waiver of speedy trial in order to be accepted into the program. Upon successful completion of the program the charges are dismissed.
Juvenile Sexting Diversion Program
The State Attorney’s Office has implemented a Juvenile Sexting Diversion Program that began on February 1, 2017. This program applies to any child under the age of 18 who sends a sexually explicit photograph to another minor. For a first offense, pursuant to Florida Statute 847.0141, the child or his parent or legal guardian will be required to pay $65 to the Clerk of Court or the child must perform 8 hours of community service at any non-profit organization. Failure to complete one of the sanctions within 30 days will require a court appearance before a Circuit Judge in Juvenile Court on a court date provided by the law enforcement officer on the citation. If a child receives a second offense, it will be classified as a first degree misdemeanor and he/she will be prosecuted in Juvenile Court. A third or subsequent offense will be a third degree felony that will also be prosecuted in Juvenile Court. This program is the result of a cooperative effort between the various law enforcement agencies, the Clerk of Court, and the State Attorney’s Office to teach minors about the dangers of sending out such explicit photographs to others, without punishing them criminally for a first offense. However, if the photograph in question is classified as child pornography, the child could be prosecuted for offenses listed under Florida Statute 847.002 and 847.0137.