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Youthful Offender Statute

Chapter 958 of the Florida Statutes, more commonly referred to as the "Florida Youthful Offender Act," was enacted during the 1978 Legislative Session with the express purpose "to improve the chances of correction and successful return to the community of youthful offenders sentenced to imprisonment by preventing their association with older and more experienced criminals during the terms of their confinement."

The Florida Youthful Offender Act essentially provides alleged offenders who are too old to be considered juveniles, but who are still within a younger age group, less stringent sentencing options. In certain cases, this can result in reduced prison sentences.

Lawyer for Youthful Offenders in Gainesville, FL

Has child recently been arrested in north central Florida for an alleged criminal offense? Do not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact Galigani Law Firm as soon as possible.

Gainesville criminal defense attorney Dean Galigani defends clients facing juvenile charges in Baker County, Bradford County, Union County, Columbia County, and many other surrounding communities in the greater Gainesville area.

Call (352) 375-0812 right now to have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.


Overview of Youthful Offender Statute in Alachua County


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Youthful Offender Statute Eligibility in Gainesville

Florida Statute § 958.04(1) establishes that a court may sentence as a youthful offender any person:

  • Who 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;
  • Who 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
  • Who 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 has been found guilty of a capital or life felony.


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Dispositions for Youthful Offenders in Alachua County

In lieu of other criminal penalties authorized by law and notwithstanding any imposition of consecutive sentences, Florida Statute § 958.04(2) authorizes a court to dispose of criminal cases involving youthful offenders as follows:

  • 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.

It is important to note that Florida Statute § 958.14 establishes that an alleged violation of probation or the terms of a community control program by a youthful offender can result that person receiving the maximum sentence for his or her underlying offense.


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Youthful Offender Statute Resources in Florida

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

Youthful Offenders | Florida Department of Law Enforcement — View the full text a Florida Department of Law Enforcement study of youthful offenders under supervision in three Florida counties who were admitted to prison between 1982 and 1992. The study claims to provide "insight into the ages, the offenses committed, and the rate of recidivism of these offenders." It also compares local and state statistics pertaining to probation population and prison admissions during the same time frame, based on data retrieved from the Justice Data Center (JDC).


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Galigani Law Firm | Gainesville Youthful Offender Defense Attorney

If your child was arrested for an alleged crime in north Central Florida, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation and ask questions about the Youthful Offender Act.

Galigani Law Firm represents individuals throughout the Gainesville area, including communities in Gilchrist County, Levy County, Marion County, and Alachua County.

Dean Galigani is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Gainesville who is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (352) 375-0812 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.



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