Juvenile Court vs. Adult Courts in Orlando


Understandably, parents of juvenile children who have been accused of a crime worry about whether their child may face the same processes and punishment as adults who allegedly commit the same crime. In the majority of cases, minors are tried in the juvenile court system. While this system focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment often handed down by adult courts, it is important to note that juveniles do not have the same protections as adults in regards to defending against wrongful or false accusations. At Adams & Luka, our Orlando juvenile crimes attorneys are committed to helping parents understand what their children may face, and the differences between juvenile and adult court.

Under Florida law, juveniles who are tried in court do not have their fate decided by a jury; instead, a judge will decide whether the juvenile is innocent or guilty.

First, Similarities Between the Juvenile and Adult Court Systems in Florida

There are no doubt some very substantial differences between the juvenile court and adult court systems in Florida, as well as around the nation. However, there are also several similarities, including:

  • Right to notification of the charges
  • Right to a lawyer
  • Privilege to protect against self-incrimination
  • Right to confront witnesses, or cross-examine
  • Proof beyond a reasonable doubt provided by prosecutors
Differences Between Juvenile and Adult Court Systems in Orlando & Central Florida

There are several substantial differences between the two court systems in Orlando and throughout Florida. Some of these differences include:

As mentioned earlier, juveniles do not have the right to a jury or public trial. Instead, a judge will reside over the "trial," hearing the evidence before making a ruling on whether your child is adjudicated delinquent, or found guilty.

Juveniles are generally prosecuted for allegedly committing delinquent acts, rather than crimes. An extremely serious delinquent act may be instead considered a criminal offense, and tried in adult court.

In most cases the juvenile court process is not as formal as that of adult court; for instance, rules regarding whether evidence is admissible may be more lenient than with the adult court procedure.

In the adult court system, the focus is to punish the defendant according to the crime he/she allegedly committed. In the juvenile court system, the focus is to rehabilitate and serve the best interest of the minor. The court will decide what action to take once it is determined that the juvenile is guilty.

Probation, parole, and diversionary programs are common in cases involving juveniles, again because of the fact that the goal is to reform and rehabilitate young or minor offenders. Ultimately, the court wants to help the juvenile resume normal functioning in society. This is why unless tried as an adult, juveniles do not typically face jail or prison time, or other harsh punishment.

Contact Adams & Luka Now

Do you really need an Orlando juvenile crime defense lawyer? If your child has been accused of a delinquent act, having a skilled attorney on your side can be a great comfort and help. We are dedicated to helping you and your child understand what your rights are, the best way to proceed, and about the available defenses and diversion programs that may be suitable in your particular situation. Call us now for a free consultation at (407) 872-0307 or (352) 787-2101.

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