Defense structure, 2017
Florida provides counsel to indigent youth through a circuit-based public defender system. Each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits has an elected public defender. Visit the National Juvenile Defender Center's Florida state profile for more details.
Waiver of counsel, 2014
Waiver of counsel can occur only after the juvenile has had a meaningful opportunity to confer with counsel regarding the juvenile's right to counsel, the consequences of waiving counsel, and any other facts that would assist the juvenile in making the decision to waive counsel. No waiver must be accepted if it appears that the party is unable to make an intelligent and understanding choice. If a waiver is accepted at any stage of the proceedings, the offer of assistance of counsel must be renewed by the court at each subsequent stage at which the juvenile appears without counsel.
- Restrictions on waivers
- No restrictions
- Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
Timing of counsel, 2013
In Florida, an attorney for a juvenile can be appointed at the following points in the process: Custodial Questioning / Talk with Intake Officer; Detention Hearing / First Court Appearance / Arraignment; Once a Petition is Filed / Hearing on the Petition; Loss of Freedom / Institutionalization / Commitment / Imprisonment; All Stages of Proceedings / All Critical States of Proceedings. By statute, in Florida, legal counsel representing a juvenile who exercises the right to counsel must be allowed to provide advice and counsel to the juvenile at any time subsequent to the juvenile's arrest.
Indigency requirements, 2013
Indigency determination: Judicially
Florida law is governed by adult statute and juvenile statute and juvenile court rule, which provide for a determination of indigency. Florida indigency law applies to juveniles being transferred to criminal court. Indigency is judicially determined. Court can / must appoint attorney for juvenile if non-indigent parent refuses to pay for juvenile's attorney. Specialized juvenile training available or required.