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Youthful Offender Act

While certain crimes in Florida may carry mandatory minimums, state law does allow for some sentencing departures in some court cases. One such alternative sentencing scheme is the Florida Youthful Offender Act, which is designed to provide younger alleged offenders who are too old to be considered juveniles some less stringent sentencing options.

Under Florida Statute § 958.021, the legislative intent of the Youthful Offender Act is "to improve the chances of correction and successful return to the community of youthful offenders sentenced to imprisonment by providing them with enhanced vocational, educational, counseling, or public service opportunities and by preventing their association with older and more experienced criminals during the terms of their confinement." Alleged offenders who are eligible under the Youthful Offender Act can receive sentences that are even less than some statutory minimums.

Youthful Offender Act Attorney in Broward County, FL

If you or your child were arrested for any kind of alleged criminal offense in Broward County, it is in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. The Hoffman Firm aggressively defends clients accused of juvenile offenses in Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Cooper City, Miramar, and several other surrounding areas of South Florida.

Evan A. Hoffman is a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale has experience handling these types of cases on both sides of the aisle because of his previous role as an Assistant State Attorney for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office. Call (954) 524-4474 to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.

Fort Lauderdale Youthful Offender Act Information Center

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Who Can Be Sentenced As Youthful Offender in Florida

Florida Statute § 958.04(1) establishes that a court can sentence a person as a youthful offender if he or she:

  • Is at least 18 years of age or who has been transferred for prosecution to the criminal division of the circuit court pursuant to chapter 985;
  • Is found guilty of or who has tendered, and the court has accepted, a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to a crime that is, under the laws of this state, a felony if the offender is younger than 21 years of age at the time sentence is imposed; and
  • Has not previously been classified as a youthful offender under the provisions of this act.

A person cannot be sentenced as a youthful offender if he or she is found guilty of a capital or life felony.

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Dispositions for Youthful Offenders in Broward County

Under Florida Statute § 958.04(2), a court can dispose of criminal cases as follows, in lieu of other criminal penalties authorized by law and notwithstanding any imposition of consecutive sentences:

  • Up to six years of probation or community control;
  • Up to 364 days incarceration in a county facility, a department probation and restitution center, or a community residential facility that is owned and operated by any public or private entity providing such services;
  • Split sentence involving up to four years in prison; or
  • Up to six years in prison.

Florida Statute § 958.14 also states that an alleged violation of probation or the terms of a community control program can result in alleged youthful offender receiving the maximum sentence for his or her underlying offense.

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Youthful Offender Act Resources in Florida

Florida Statutes Chapter 958 | Youthful Offenders — View the full text for all 14 sections comprising the Florida Youthful Offender Act. You can learn more about suspension of sentences by courts, judicial disposition of youthful offenders, and youthful offender basic training programs. Also find more information about presentence reports, definitions, and extensions of limits of confinement.

West v. State, 129 So. 3d 1155 (Fla. 3d DCA 2014) — Ulyses West pled guilty in August 2004 to armed robbery and armed burglary and was sentenced to four years in state prison followed by two years of probation, but his probation officer filed an affidavit of violation of probation alleging West failed to report to his probation officer after being released from confinement and left his county of residence without the consent of his probation officer as evidenced by an arrest in Broward County for riding a bike with no/improper light and possession of cannabis. The trial judge sentenced West to serve 10 years in state prison for violating his probation, and the trial court denied West's motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800(a), in which he claimed the trial court erred by imposing a 10-year sentence because, as a youthful offender, he could not have been sentenced to more than six years imprisonment based only on a technical violation. The Third District Court of Appeal concluded that failure to report and leaving the county of residence without permission are technical offenses because they are merely violations of the rules or probation and reversed the trial court's order denying West's motion to correct illegal sentence, but noted that on remand, the trial court should determine whether West committed a substantive violation of his probation per his Broward County charges (the record included neither evidence of the offenses nor the disposition of the charges) and determine the scope of West's 2009 plea agreement.

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The Hoffman Firm | Fort Lauderdale Youthful Offender Act Lawyer

Were you or your child recently arrested in South Florida for any kind of alleged criminal offense? You should not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact The Hoffman Firm today.

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Evan A. Hoffman represents individuals in communities all over the greater Broward County area, including Dania Beach, Lauderhill, Hallandale Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Margate, and many others. You can have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 524-4474 or submit an online contact form to receive a free, confidential consultation.

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Client Reviews
I found myself in an unfortunate situation. A fried gave me evan' s personal number and we spoke for over an hour. I felt so reassured and grateful for his time. Needless to say I write this review with great pleasure. A call to thank evan would not be justified as I want anyone who ever finds themselves in my situation to know who to call. Thank you evan I cannot say enough good things about you. Edwin
I was arrested wrongfully and the police would not listen to my story. Evan contacted the state attorney and got all the charges dismissed. I was in danger of losing my job but thankfully Evan and his staff did am amazing job. It's easy to trash an attorney these days but thankfully there are lawyers like Evan who actually care about their clients. John
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