Juvenile Civil Citations in Jacksonville, FL

In support of diverting non-violent juveniles from the criminal justice system, Sheriff Mike Williams strongly supports the issuance of Juvenile Civil Citations for those offenses that meet the criteria. Juvenile Civil Citations are issued in Florida in accordance with Florida Statute 985.12.

This law allows local law enforcement agencies along with the offices of the Public Defender, Chief Judge, and State Attorney to agree to a process that diverts some juvenile misdemeanor charges from the criminal arrest process to local diversionary programs.

Juvenile Civil Citations provide positive alternatives to juveniles who otherwise face arrest after committing certain misdemeanors. 

When a juvenile has received a civil citation instead of being arrested, the JSO forwards the citation to the State Attorney’s Office where it is reviewed and passed onto Teen Court.  The State Attorney’s Office at that time also reviews for any possible constitutional or proof issues which would result in the charge not proceeding further in either the court or diversionary system.

Upon receipt at the courthouse by the Court Administration Teen Court Director, the case is reviewed and a determination is made as to which diversionary civil citation program is most appropriate for that juvenile.  The juvenile’s case will be handled in either Teen Court or one of the Neighborhood Accountability Boards (NABs). 

Teen Court is a mock judicial process where the juvenile is held accountable by a panel of their peers in a court type setting. Neighborhood Accountability Boards are located geographically throughout Jacksonville and consist of volunteer members of that neighborhood board’s community who hear the case as well as additional information about the offending juvenile.

Both Teen Court and the Neighborhood Accountability Boards operate under the principles of restorative justice where the juvenile is held accountable for their crime, and, most importantly is offered therapeutic and other services to assist with any underlying issues that may be affecting their behavior and choices in the goal of preventing any future criminal acts.

In cases where the juvenile or the misdemeanor does not meet the criteria to receive a juvenile civil citation, there is an additional non-arrest diversion program at the State Attorney’s Office. If the offender meets the criteria, this additional diversionary program can be used in misdemeanor as well as felony cases, and for adults as well as juveniles. When eligible, those who participate also avoid the criminal justice court process where the result would otherwise include a criminal history of either a conviction or even a record that would document an adjudication that was withheld.

Most records held by law enforcement agencies, the courts, and the State Attorney and Public Defender’s Offices pertaining to juvenile criminal misdemeanor charges, even in cases where there has been an arrest and conviction, are held as confidential under the law and cannot be released pursuant to public records requests. (F. S. 119)

What happens when a juvenile receives a civil citation?

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