Juvenile Diversion In Fort Walton Beach
Juvenile diversion is a means to resolve a juvenile case without lifelong consequences. While still inflicting punishment to prevent the child from deviating from the law in the future, juvenile diversion is rehabilitative rather than punitive. A diversion program is offered as a one time deal for juveniles to get their lives back on track. It also offers a resolution for parents which requires the child to comply with a set of rules or face further punishment.
The end result is a dismissal of charges if your child complies with all the terms of their diversion program.
Being parents of teenagers, we fully understand how hard raising a teen can be. If your child was arrested or charged with an offense in Fort Walton Beach or anywhere in Okaloosa County, the best advice I can give you is to consult with a knowledgeable juvenile defense attorney. Contact Flaherty Defense Firm today for a free consultation at (850) 243-6097. We have been defending juveniles for over 14 years in Okaloosa County.
Do First Time Juvenile Offenders Always Get Diversion?
Diversion is not offered in every case and many times may not be offered to first time offenders. While you have a better chance at getting a diversion program if you are a first time offender, it is not given automatically.
What Kind of Programs are offered in Juvenile Diversion?
Juvenile diversion offers several different programs. Generally the program is dictated by the crime and the outcome of a TASC evaluation. A TASC evaluation is a comprehensive background investigation including the crime, history of criminal activity, friends, use of narcotics, family dynamics and academics. This evaluation tells the juvenile division a lot about your child and is a vital part of obtaining diversion.
Diversion programs offered in Okaloosa County include Teen Court, Parentally Applied Discipline, Deferred Prosecution Agreement, and Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program.
What is Teen Court?
- Teen Court was devised to show juveniles what the court system could look like without the harsh punishment that adult offenders could receive. Teen Court is held at the Okaloosa County Courthouse in Crestview or Ft. Walton Beach once a week after school. When a juvenile begins teen court they are a defendant. The mock court has the “defendant” sit on the witness stand and answer questions from a prosecutor and a judge. The defendant is also given a defense attorney and there is a sitting jury. The members of the court (excluding the judge) are other teens charged with offenses. Once your child has been a defendant they get to serve the rest of their sentence as another member of the court and dole out punishment to other teens.
What is Parentally Applied Discipline?
This level of diversion is similar to being grounded by parents but with a twist. The juvenile must complete a contract with their probation officer and parents to obey a certain set of rules devised by their probation officer and parents. If the child does not comply, mom or dad can report to probation and the child will endure additional sanctions. This form of diversion allows the parents control with consequences. Many parents opt for this form of punishment because they can work as a team with their child to redirect poor behavior choices.
What is a Deferred Prosecution Agreement?
This level of diversion is less intrusive. This diversion plan dictates a set of requirements that the juvenile must complete and upon successful completion a dismissal will be issued. This diversion has been used as a successful resolution to juveniles and families living outside Okaloosa County.
What is the Juvenile Diversion Alternative Program (JDAP)?
If the charge is a bit more serious or the TASC evaluation denotes potential pitfalls for a juvenile, JDAP is generally the diversion referral. JDAP is a bit more intensive and requires the juvenile to perform many of the same conditions as the other programs but to a higher degree. Generally narcotic offenses will receive a referral to JDAP. This program closely monitors therapy and intervention to ensure that the juvenile does not re-offend with narcotics.
The most important part about diversion is it results in a full case dismissal upon successful completion. What that means for the juvenile is a dismissed case and no further repercussions. What that means for a parent is renewed hope for their child’s future. Diversion is not offered in every case and is certainly not something that is easy to obtain. An experienced juvenile defense attorney can help position your child in the best light possible to receive a diversion program. The end result is structured consequences and a clean record for the future.
If your child has been charged with a crime in Okaloosa County, contact Flaherty Defense Firm today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation. Having an attorney immediately following arrest could be the difference in a diversion and an adjudication of delinquency.