What does it mean if my child is "direct-filed" into adult court?
When a child is charged with a crime, the way in which that charge is handled can have residual affects on your child's future. Like adults, children could face probation, jail time, and other serious penalties that will affect your family for years to come.
Under Florida Statute 985.557, a prosecutor is permitted to "direct file" an Information which puts a juvenile into adult court. The law allows a prosecutor to push a child from juvenile court into adult court so long as the child was 14 or 15 years of age at the time the child allegedly committed, attempted to commit, or conspired to commit one of the following offenses:
2. Sexual Battery
5. Aggravated child abuse
6. Aggravated Assault
7. Aggravated Stalking
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 on an individual under 16
14. Carrying, displaying, using, threatening, or attempting to use a weapon or firearm in the commission of a felony
15. Grand theft
16. Possessing or discharging a weapon or firearm on school grounds
17. Home invasion robbery
19. Grand theft of a motor vehicle
This Florida Statute allows the Court to treat any child whose case is being handled in adult court as though that child were an adult. It's important to have an attorney who understands options and possible defenses available to your child when charged with any crime, whether they remain in juvenile court or are direct-filed into adult court.