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FAQs

What is Juvenile Arbitration?

A meeting between the defendant, parent/guardian, and the victim with a JDP Case Manager to discuss the offense to form a contract. At the end of Arbitration a contract will be signed to include all the sanctions the defendant will need to complete. If the sanctions are completed, the victim may be compensated; the defendant avoids formal prosecution in juvenile court. Failure to comply with the sanction will result in referral back to the Office of the State Attorney for prosecution.

Who qualifies to participate in Juvenile Arbitration?

Eligibility may vary by offense, but many first-time misdemeanor and felony offenders of the ages of 7 -17 qualify. Referrals to Juvenile Arbitration are made by the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC), the Office of the State Attorney and Juvenile Court.

How long does Juvenile Arbitration last?

Length of time for completion of the program can range from 1 month to 1 year with an average of 3 months. Note: Cases are reviewed monthly and may require JDP office visits.

Why is Juvenile Arbitration a good option?

Defendants receive guidance without the stigma of an official court record.

    • The victim and community are compensated for the criminal act.
    • Provide a quick response to offenses.
    • Case Managers provide referrals for needed services and support those involved.
    • Reduces number of youth in formal court and reserves juvenile dockets for more chronic offenders.
    • Accountability is promoted by the involvement of the community.
    • Cases are heard individually in a private setting.
    • What types of sanctions might the offender receive?
    • Possible sanctions include but are not limited to:
    • Community Service
    • Victim Services / Restitution
    • Counseling / Referrals to other agencies
    • Substance Abuse Evaluations / Drug Testing
    • School Progress Reports
    • Restrictions
    • SHOCK Education Program
    • Driver’s License / Permit Suspension of Privileges
    • STEAL Shoplifting Awareness Classes
    • Letters of Apology
    • Teen Court Jury Duty
    • Essays
    • What happens after successful completion of Juvenile Arbitration?
    • Individuals who successfully complete Juvenile Arbitration may apply for expunction by contacting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). This must be done within six months of completion, and can cost up to $75.00 for a misdemeanor offense.  For more information: contact FDLE  (850) 410-7879.