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The Florida Statutes

The 2003 Florida Statutes

Title XLVII
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND CORRECTIONS
Chapter 985
DELINQUENCY; INTERSTATE COMPACT ON JUVENILES
View Entire Chapter
Section 985.03, Florida Statutes 2003

985.03  Definitions.--When used in this chapter, the term:

(1)  "Addictions receiving facility" means a substance abuse service provider as defined in chapter 397.

(2)  "Adjudicatory hearing" means a hearing for the court to determine whether or not the facts support the allegations stated in the petition, as is provided for under s. 985.228 in delinquency cases.

(3)  "Adult" means any natural person other than a child.

(4)  "Arbitration" means a process whereby a neutral third person or panel, called an arbitrator or an arbitration panel, considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties and renders a decision which may be binding or nonbinding.

(5)  "Authorized agent" or "designee" of the department means a person or agency assigned or designated by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Family Services, as appropriate, to perform duties or exercise powers pursuant to this chapter and includes contract providers and their employees for purposes of providing services to and managing cases of children in need of services and families in need of services.

(6)  "Child" or "juvenile" or "youth" means any unmarried person under the age of 18 who has not been emancipated by order of the court and who has been found or alleged to be dependent, in need of services, or from a family in need of services; or any married or unmarried person who is charged with a violation of law occurring prior to the time that person reached the age of 18 years.

(7)  "Child eligible for an intensive residential treatment program for offenders less than 13 years of age" means a child who has been found to have committed a delinquent act or a violation of law in the case currently before the court and who meets at least one of the following criteria:

(a)  The child is less than 13 years of age at the time of the disposition for the current offense and has been adjudicated on the current offense for:

1.  Arson;

2.  Sexual battery;

3.  Robbery;

4.  Kidnapping;

5.  Aggravated child abuse;

6.  Aggravated assault;

7.  Aggravated stalking;

8.  Murder;

9.  Manslaughter;

10.  Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb;

11.  Armed burglary;

12.  Aggravated battery;

13.  Any lewd or lascivious offense committed upon or in the presence of a person less than 16 years of age; or

14.  Carrying, displaying, using, threatening, or attempting to use a weapon or firearm during the commission of a felony.

(b)  The child is less than 13 years of age at the time of the disposition, the current offense is a felony, and the child has previously been committed at least once to a delinquency commitment program.

(c)  The child is less than 13 years of age and is currently committed for a felony offense and transferred from a moderate-risk or high-risk residential commitment placement.

(8)  "Child in need of services" means a child for whom there is no pending investigation into an allegation or suspicion of abuse, neglect, or abandonment; no pending referral alleging the child is delinquent; or no current supervision by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Family Services for an adjudication of dependency or delinquency. The child must also, pursuant to this chapter, be found by the court:

(a)  To have persistently run away from the child's parents or legal custodians despite reasonable efforts of the child, the parents or legal custodians, and appropriate agencies to remedy the conditions contributing to the behavior. Reasonable efforts shall include voluntary participation by the child's parents or legal custodians and the child in family mediation, services, and treatment offered by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Family Services;

(b)  To be habitually truant from school, while subject to compulsory school attendance, despite reasonable efforts to remedy the situation pursuant to ss. 1003.26 and 1003.27 and through voluntary participation by the child's parents or legal custodians and by the child in family mediation, services, and treatment offered by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Family Services; or

(c)  To have persistently disobeyed the reasonable and lawful demands of the child's parents or legal custodians, and to be beyond their control despite efforts by the child's parents or legal custodians and appropriate agencies to remedy the conditions contributing to the behavior. Reasonable efforts may include such things as good faith participation in family or individual counseling.

(9)  "Child who has been found to have committed a delinquent act" means a child who, pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, is found by a court to have committed a violation of law or to be in direct or indirect contempt of court, except that this definition shall not include an act constituting contempt of court arising out of a dependency proceeding or a proceeding pursuant to part III of this chapter.

(10)  "Child support" means a court-ordered obligation, enforced under chapter 61 and ss. 409.2551-409.2597, for monetary support for the care, maintenance, training, and education of a child.

(11)  "Circuit" means any of the 20 judicial circuits as set forth in s. 26.021.

(12)  "Comprehensive assessment" or "assessment" means the gathering of information for the evaluation of a juvenile offender's or a child's physical, psychological, educational, vocational, and social condition and family environment as they relate to the child's need for rehabilitative and treatment services, including substance abuse treatment services, mental health services, developmental services, literacy services, medical services, family services, and other specialized services, as appropriate.

(13)  "Conditional release" means the care, treatment, help, and supervision provided to a juvenile released from a residential commitment program which is intended to promote rehabilitation and prevent recidivism. The purpose of conditional release is to protect the public, reduce recidivism, increase responsible productive behavior, and provide for a successful transition of the youth from the department to the family. Conditional release includes, but is not limited to, nonresidential community-based programs.

(14)  "Court," unless otherwise expressly stated, means the circuit court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under this chapter.

(15)(a)  "Delinquency program" means any intake, probation, or similar program; regional detention center or facility; or community-based program, whether owned and operated by or contracted by the Department of Juvenile Justice, or institution owned and operated by or contracted by the Department of Juvenile Justice, which provides intake, supervision, or custody and care of children who are alleged to be or who have been found to be delinquent pursuant to part II.

(b)  "Delinquency program staff" means supervisory and direct care staff of a delinquency program as well as support staff who have direct contact with children in a delinquency program.

(c)  "Delinquency prevention programs" means programs designed for the purpose of reducing the occurrence of delinquency, including youth and street gang activity, and juvenile arrests. The term excludes arbitration, diversionary or mediation programs, and community service work or other treatment available subsequent to a child committing a delinquent act.

(16)  "Department" means the Department of Juvenile Justice.

(17)  "Designated facility" or "designated treatment facility" means any facility designated by the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide treatment to juvenile offenders.

(18)  "Detention care" means the temporary care of a child in secure, nonsecure, or home detention, pending a court adjudication or disposition or execution of a court order. There are three types of detention care, as follows:

(a)  "Secure detention" means temporary custody of the child while the child is under the physical restriction of a detention center or facility pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.

(b)  "Nonsecure detention" means temporary custody of the child while the child is in a residential home in the community in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.

(c)  "Home detention" means temporary custody of the child while the child is released to the custody of the parent, guardian, or custodian in a physically nonrestrictive environment under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice staff pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.

(19)  "Detention center or facility" means a facility used pending court adjudication or disposition or execution of court order for the temporary care of a child alleged or found to have committed a violation of law. A detention center or facility may provide secure or nonsecure custody. A facility used for the commitment of adjudicated delinquents shall not be considered a detention center or facility.

(20)  "Detention hearing" means a hearing for the court to determine if a child should be placed in temporary custody, as provided for under ss. 985.213 and 985.215 in delinquency cases.

(21)  "Disposition hearing" means a hearing in which the court determines the most appropriate dispositional services in the least restrictive available setting provided for under s. 985.231, in delinquency cases.

(22)  "Family" means a collective of persons, consisting of a child and a parent, guardian, adult custodian, or adult relative, in which:

(a)  The persons reside in the same house or living unit; or

(b)  The parent, guardian, adult custodian, or adult relative has a legal responsibility by blood, marriage, or court order to support or care for the child.

(23)  "Family in need of services" means a family that has a child for whom there is no pending investigation into an allegation of abuse, neglect, or abandonment or no current supervision by the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Family Services for an adjudication of dependency or delinquency. The child must also have been referred to a law enforcement agency or the Department of Juvenile Justice for:

(a)  Running away from parents or legal custodians;

(b)  Persistently disobeying reasonable and lawful demands of parents or legal custodians, and being beyond their control; or

(c)  Habitual truancy from school.

(24)  "Foster care" means care provided a child in a foster family or boarding home, group home, agency boarding home, child care institution, or any combination thereof.

(25)  "Habitually truant" means that:

(a)  The child has 15 unexcused absences within 90 calendar days with or without the knowledge or justifiable consent of the child's parent or legal guardian, is subject to compulsory school attendance under s. 1003.21(1) and (2)(a), and is not exempt under s. 1003.21(3), s. 1003.24, or any other exemptions specified by law or the rules of the State Board of Education.

(b)  Escalating activities to determine the cause, and to attempt the remediation, of the child's truant behavior under ss. 1003.26 and 1003.27 have been completed.


If a child who is subject to compulsory school attendance is responsive to the interventions described in ss. 1003.26 and 1003.27 and has completed the necessary requirements to pass the current grade as indicated in the district pupil progression plan, the child shall not be determined to be habitually truant and shall be passed. If a child within the compulsory school attendance age has 15 unexcused absences within 90 calendar days or fails to enroll in school, the state attorney may file a child-in-need-of-services petition. Prior to filing a petition, the child must be referred to the appropriate agency for evaluation. After consulting with the evaluating agency, the state attorney may elect to file a child-in-need-of-services petition.

(c)  A school representative, designated according to school board policy, and a juvenile probation officer of the Department of Juvenile Justice have jointly investigated the truancy problem or, if that was not feasible, have performed separate investigations to identify conditions that could be contributing to the truant behavior; and if, after a joint staffing of the case to determine the necessity for services, such services were determined to be needed, the persons who performed the investigations met jointly with the family and child to discuss any referral to appropriate community agencies for economic services, family or individual counseling, or other services required to remedy the conditions that are contributing to the truant behavior.

(d)  The failure or refusal of the parent or legal guardian or the child to participate, or make a good faith effort to participate, in the activities prescribed to remedy the truant behavior, or the failure or refusal of the child to return to school after participation in activities required by this subsection, or the failure of the child to stop the truant behavior after the school administration and the Department of Juvenile Justice have worked with the child as described in s. 1003.27(3) shall be handled as prescribed in s. 1003.27.

(26)  "Halfway house" means a community-based residential program for 10 or more committed delinquents at the moderate-risk commitment level which is operated or contracted by the Department of Juvenile Justice.

(27)  "Intake" means the initial acceptance and screening by the Department of Juvenile Justice of a complaint or a law enforcement report or probable cause affidavit of delinquency, family in need of services, or child in need of services to determine the recommendation to be taken in the best interests of the child, the family, and the community. The emphasis of intake is on diversion and the least restrictive available services. Consequently, intake includes such alternatives as:

(a)  The disposition of the complaint, report, or probable cause affidavit without court or public agency action or judicial handling when appropriate.

(b)  The referral of the child to another public or private agency when appropriate.

(c)  The recommendation by the juvenile probation officer of judicial handling when appropriate and warranted.

(28)  "Judge" means the circuit judge exercising jurisdiction pursuant to this chapter.

(29)  "Juvenile justice continuum" includes, but is not limited to, delinquency prevention programs and services designed for the purpose of preventing or reducing delinquent acts, including criminal activity by youth gangs, and juvenile arrests, as well as programs and services targeted at children who have committed delinquent acts, and children who have previously been committed to residential treatment programs for delinquents. The term includes children-in-need-of-services and families-in-need-of-services programs; conditional release; substance abuse and mental health programs; educational and vocational programs; recreational programs; community services programs; community service work programs; and alternative dispute resolution programs serving children at risk of delinquency and their families, whether offered or delivered by state or local governmental entities, public or private for-profit or not-for-profit organizations, or religious or charitable organizations.

(30)  "Juvenile probation officer" means the authorized agent of the Department of Juvenile Justice who performs the intake, case management, or supervision functions.

(31)  "Juvenile sexual offender" means:

(a)  A juvenile who has been found by the court pursuant to s. 985.228 to have committed a violation of chapter 794, chapter 796, chapter 800, s. 827.071, or s. 847.0133;

(b)  A juvenile found to have committed any felony violation of law or delinquent act involving juvenile sexual abuse. "Juvenile sexual abuse" means any sexual behavior which occurs without consent, without equality, or as a result of coercion. For purposes of this subsection, the following definitions apply:

1.  "Coercion" means the exploitation of authority, use of bribes, threats of force, or intimidation to gain cooperation or compliance.

2.  "Equality" means two participants operating with the same level of power in a relationship, neither being controlled nor coerced by the other.

3.  "Consent" means an agreement including all of the following:

a.  Understanding what is proposed based on age, maturity, developmental level, functioning, and experience.

b.  Knowledge of societal standards for what is being proposed.

c.  Awareness of potential consequences and alternatives.

d.  Assumption that agreement or disagreement will be accepted equally.

e.  Voluntary decision.

f.  Mental competence.

Juvenile sexual offender behavior ranges from noncontact sexual behavior such as making obscene phone calls, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and the showing or taking of lewd photographs to varying degrees of direct sexual contact, such as frottage, fondling, digital penetration, rape, fellatio, sodomy, and various other sexually aggressive acts.

(32)  "Legal custody or guardian" means a legal status created by court order or letter of guardianship which vests in a custodian of the person or guardian, whether an agency or an individual, the right to have physical custody of the child and the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide him or her with food, shelter, education, and ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological care.

(33)  "Licensed child-caring agency" means a person, society, association, or agency licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services to care for, receive, and board children.

(34)  "Licensed health care professional" means a physician licensed under chapter 458, an osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459, a nurse licensed under part I of chapter 464, a physician assistant licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459, or a dentist licensed under chapter 466.

(35)  "Likely to injure oneself" means that, as evidenced by violent or other actively self-destructive behavior, it is more likely than not that within a 24-hour period the child will attempt to commit suicide or inflict serious bodily harm on himself or herself.

(36)  "Likely to injure others" means that it is more likely than not that within a 24-hour period the child will inflict serious and unjustified bodily harm on another person.

(37)  "Mediation" means a process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and nonadversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decisionmaking authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.

(38)  "Necessary medical treatment" means care which is necessary within a reasonable degree of medical certainty to prevent the deterioration of a child's condition or to alleviate immediate pain of a child.

(39)  "Next of kin" means an adult relative of a child who is the child's brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or first cousin.

(40)  "Parent" means a woman who gives birth to a child and a man whose consent to the adoption of the child would be required under s. 63.062(1). If a child has been legally adopted, the term "parent" means the adoptive mother or father of the child. The term does not include an individual whose parental relationship to the child has been legally terminated, or an alleged or prospective parent, unless the parental status falls within the terms of either s. 39.503(1) or s. 63.062(1).

(41)  "Preliminary screening" means the gathering of preliminary information to be used in determining a child's need for further evaluation or assessment or for referral for other substance abuse services through means such as psychosocial interviews; urine and breathalyzer screenings; and reviews of available educational, delinquency, and dependency records of the child.

(42)  "Preventive services" means social services and other supportive and rehabilitative services provided to the parent of the child, the legal guardian of the child, or the custodian of the child and to the child for the purpose of averting the removal of the child from the home or disruption of a family which will or could result in the placement of a child in foster care. Social services and other supportive and rehabilitative services shall promote the child's need for a safe, continuous, stable living environment and shall promote family autonomy and shall strengthen family life as the first priority whenever possible.

(43)  "Probation" means the legal status of probation created by law and court order in cases involving a child who has been found to have committed a delinquent act. Probation is an individualized program in which the freedom of the child is limited and the child is restricted to noninstitutional quarters or restricted to the child's home in lieu of commitment to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Youth on probation may be assessed and classified for placement in day-treatment probation programs designed for youth who represent a minimum risk to themselves and public safety and do not require placement and services in a residential setting. Program types in this more intensive and structured day-treatment probation option include vocational programs, marine programs, juvenile justice alternative schools, training and rehabilitation programs, and gender-specific programs.

(44)  "Relative" means a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, first cousin, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, great-uncle, niece, or nephew, whether related by the whole or half blood, by affinity, or by adoption. The term does not include a stepparent.

(45)  "Residential commitment level" means the level of security provided by programs that service the supervision, custody, care, and treatment needs of committed children. Sections 985.3141 and 985.404(11) apply to children placed in programs at any residential commitment level. The levels of residential commitment are as follows:

(a)  Low-risk residential.--Programs or program models at this commitment level are residential but may allow youth to have unsupervised access to the community. Youth assessed and classified for placement in programs at this commitment level represent a low risk to themselves and public safety but do require placement and services in residential settings. Children who have been found to have committed delinquent acts that involve firearms, delinquent acts that are sexual offenses, or delinquent acts that would be life felonies or first degree felonies if committed by an adult shall not be committed to a program at this level.

(b)  Moderate-risk residential.--Programs or program models at this commitment level are residential but may allow youth to have supervised access to the community. Facilities are either environmentally secure, staff secure, or are hardware-secure with walls, fencing, or locking doors. Facilities shall provide 24-hour awake supervision, custody, care, and treatment of residents. Youth assessed and classified for placement in programs at this commitment level represent a moderate risk to public safety and require close supervision. The staff at a facility at this commitment level may seclude a child who is a physical threat to himself or herself or others. Mechanical restraint may also be used when necessary.

(c)  High-risk residential.--Programs or program models at this commitment level are residential and shall not allow youth to have access to the community. Facilities are hardware-secure with perimeter fencing and locking doors. Facilities shall provide 24-hour awake supervision, custody, care, and treatment of residents. Youth assessed and classified for this level of placement require close supervision in a structured residential setting. Placement in programs at this level is prompted by a concern for public safety that outweighs placement in programs at lower commitment levels. The staff at a facility at this commitment level may seclude a child who is a physical threat to himself or herself or others. Mechanical restraint may also be used when necessary. The facility may provide for single cell occupancy.

(d)  Maximum-risk residential.--Programs or program models at this commitment level include juvenile correctional facilities and juvenile prisons. The programs are long-term residential and shall not allow youth to have access to the community. Facilities are maximum-custody hardware-secure with perimeter security fencing and locking doors. Facilities shall provide 24-hour awake supervision, custody, care, and treatment of residents. The staff at a facility at this commitment level may seclude a child who is a physical threat to himself or herself or others. Mechanical restraint may also be used when necessary. The facility shall provide for single cell occupancy, except that youth may be housed together during prerelease transition. Youth assessed and classified for this level of placement require close supervision in a maximum security residential setting. Placement in a program at this level is prompted by a demonstrated need to protect the public.

(46)  "Respite" means a placement that is available for the care, custody, and placement of a youth charged with domestic violence as an alternative to secure detention or for placement of a youth when a shelter bed for a child in need of services or a family in need of services is unavailable.

(47)  "Secure detention center or facility" means a physically restricting facility for the temporary care of children, pending adjudication, disposition, or placement.

(48)  "Serious or habitual juvenile offender," for purposes of commitment to a residential facility and for purposes of records retention, means a child who has been found to have committed a delinquent act or a violation of law, in the case currently before the court, and who meets at least one of the following criteria:

(a)  The youth is at least 13 years of age at the time of the disposition for the current offense and has been adjudicated on the current offense for:

1.  Arson;

2.  Sexual battery;

3.  Robbery;

4.  Kidnapping;

5.  Aggravated child abuse;

6.  Aggravated assault;

7.  Aggravated stalking;

8.  Murder;

9.  Manslaughter;

10.  Unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb;

11.  Armed burglary;

12.  Aggravated battery;

13.  Any lewd or lascivious offense committed upon or in the presence of a person less than 16 years of age; or

14.  Carrying, displaying, using, threatening, or attempting to use a weapon or firearm during the commission of a felony.

(b)  The youth is at least 13 years of age at the time of the disposition, the current offense is a felony, and the child has previously been committed at least two times to a delinquency commitment program.

(c)  The youth is at least 13 years of age and is currently committed for a felony offense and transferred from a moderate-risk or high-risk residential commitment placement.

(49)  "Serious or habitual juvenile offender program" means the program established in s. 985.31.

(50)  "Shelter" means a place for the temporary care of a child who is alleged to be or who has been found to be delinquent.

(51)  "Shelter hearing" means a hearing provided for under s. 984.14 in family-in-need-of-services cases or child-in-need-of-services cases.

(52)  "Staff-secure shelter" means a facility in which a child is supervised 24 hours a day by staff members who are awake while on duty. The facility is for the temporary care and assessment of a child who has been found to be dependent, who has violated a court order and been found in contempt of court, or whom the Department of Children and Family Services is unable to properly assess or place for assistance within the continuum of services provided for dependent children.

(53)  "Substance abuse" means using, without medical reason, any psychoactive or mood-altering drug, including alcohol, in such a manner as to induce impairment resulting in dysfunctional social behavior.

(54)  "Taken into custody" means the status of a child immediately when temporary physical control over the child is attained by a person authorized by law, pending the child's release, detention, placement, or other disposition as authorized by law.

(55)  "Temporary legal custody" means the relationship that a juvenile court creates between a child and an adult relative of the child, adult nonrelative approved by the court, or other person until a more permanent arrangement is ordered. Temporary legal custody confers upon the custodian the right to have temporary physical custody of the child and the right and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child and to provide the child with food, shelter, and education, and ordinary medical, dental, psychiatric, and psychological care, unless these rights and duties are otherwise enlarged or limited by the court order establishing the temporary legal custody relationship.

(56)  "Temporary release" means the terms and conditions under which a child is temporarily released from a commitment facility or allowed home visits. If the temporary release is from a moderate-risk residential facility, a high-risk residential facility, or a maximum-risk residential facility, the terms and conditions of the temporary release must be approved by the child, the court, and the facility. The term includes periods during which the child is supervised pursuant to a conditional release program or a period during which the child is supervised by a juvenile probation officer or other nonresidential staff of the department or staff employed by an entity under contract with the department.

(57)  "Training school" means one of the following facilities: the Arthur G. Dozier School or the Eckerd Youth Development Center.

(58)  "Violation of law" or "delinquent act" means a violation of any law of this state, the United States, or any other state which is a misdemeanor or a felony or a violation of a county or municipal ordinance which would be punishable by incarceration if the violation were committed by an adult.

(59)  "Waiver hearing" means a hearing provided for under s. 985.226(3).

History.--s. 4, ch. 97-234; s. 3, ch. 97-238; s. 1, ch. 97-276; s. 13, ch. 98-49; s. 7, ch. 98-207; s. 78, ch. 98-280; s. 169, ch. 98-403; s. 58, ch. 99-7; s. 14, ch. 99-201; s. 9, ch. 99-284; s. 18, ch. 2000-135; s. 150, ch. 2000-318; s. 35, ch. 2001-3; s. 14, ch. 2001-125; s. 119, ch. 2002-1; s. 1050, ch. 2002-387.

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