In the State of Florida, a court may impose a youthful offender (YO) sentence
to somebody who is at least 18 years old who has been transferred for
prosecution to circuit court from juvenile court (
juvenile direct file). As well, a court can impose a YO sentence on somebody who is found guilty
or has pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony, and that offender is
younger than 21 at the time of sentencing, so long as they have not been
previously classified a youthful offender.
The benefit to a YO sentence is that the court cannot impose a sentence
longer than 6 years. The court may impose a split sentence whereby the
youthful offender serves a maximum of 364 days in a county facility, followed
by supervision, such as probation or community control. Community control
(house arrest) cannot exceed 2 years. Probation can follow community control
for 4 years.
The court has discrection in determining whether to impose a YO sentence.
This is especially important if an accused person, age 18 to 21, is charged
with a serious felony, such as
, armed burglary, or
in drugs, such as marijuana,
A YO sentence can spare a young defendant from facing the harsh
associated with serious violent felonies.
Of course, the court will consider the violent nature of the charge, the
record and previous history of the accused, and the interests of protection
of the community before imposing a YO sentence. However, a good Miami-Dade County
criminal defense attorney who practices in the Miami and Broward courts may be able to craft an
intelligent argument, explaining to the judge why their client should
be given YO sanctions.
If you or your child is facing significant prison time for a serious felony
offense, contact me, a Miami and Broward criminal defense lawyer.
Call my office
to set up a free consultation.