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Juvenile Detention Hearings

Immediately after a juvenile is arrested or detained for an offense that occurred in Hillsborough County, FL, the child will be taken to the  Juvenile Assessment Center in Tampa. After the intake process, the child can either be immediately released to their parent or admitted into the detention center.

Within 24 hours of being admitted, the child will be brought to the detention hearing in court before a judge authorizing the youth’s detention status. In Hillsborough County, FL, the detention hearings are heard at 8 a.m., at the courthouse in Tampa, FL. Detention hearings occur every single day, even on weekends and holidays.

The parents or the juvenile have the option of retaining a private criminal defense attorney who can represent the child at the detention hearing. 

At the detention hearing, the criminal defense attorney will ask the court to release the child from detention under the most favorable terms possible. The attorney will also give the judge information about the child’s backgrounds and all of the reasons the child should be released to the parents.

At the detention hearing, the judge will decide whether or not the child will stay in detention while the juvenile case is proceeding through the court system.

The child has the right to be represented by a private criminal defense attorney at this hearing. In many of these cases, the child’s parent will retain the attorney immediately after learning that a criminal investigation has begun, that a detective wants to speak to the child, or after the child is taken to the detention center.

Attorneys for Detention Hearings in Hillsborough County, FL

If your child has been accused of a delinquent act and is being held in the Juvenile Detention Center in Tampa, FL, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you determine if there is a way to obtain your child’s release from custody.

We can visit the child immediately before the detention hearing and represent the child during the detention hearing. We can ask the court to release the child outright or at least impose the least restrictive conditions of home detention. In many cases, we can argue against holding the child in secure detention and show the court why that drastic step is not necessary under the circumstances.

Our juvenile defense lawyers in Tampa, FL, represent clients accused of crimes in Hillsborough County, Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, and Polk County, FL.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.


What Happens During a Detention Hearing?

After your child is taken into custody, the child can be released to the parents from the juvenile assessment center or detained at the detention center based on an allegation that the child is delinquent because of a criminal charge that would be a crime if the child were an adult.

At the detention hearing, the judge will review several documents including a detention petition. The petition might request an “Order of Detention” for the juvenile if the child is an age subject to the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court.

Detention is allowed under Florida law as defined in 985.25 F.S. if:

  • The child is being held for another jurisdiction for a felony offense;
  • Protective custody at the child’s request pursuant to 985.25 F.S.;
  • Charges of capital, life or first-degree felony, felony of the second degree that does not involve a violation of chapter 893, or a third-degree felony that is also a crime of violence including any such offense involving the use or possession of a firearm;
  • Charges of any second degree or third-degree felony involving a violation of chapter 893 (Felony Drugs), any third-degree felony that is not a crime of violence (excluding firearm offenses) and has:
    • record of failure to appear after proper notification;
    • record of law violation prior to your hearings;
    • previously been detained or released and is awaiting final disposition;
    • record of violent conduct resulting in physical injury;
    • been found to be in possession of a firearm.
  • The minor is charged with an offense that involves the use or possession of a firearm under F.S. 790.001;
  • The child alleged to have violated conditions of probation, conditional release or home detention;
  • The child is an escapee or absconder from commitment, probation or detention;
  • The child is accused of any act of domestic violence;
  • The court has entered an order to take into custody due to failure to appear at a hearing; or
  • The court has entered another type of order to take the child into custody.

The court will also review a Detention Risk Assessment. The form will assign points that describe a score based on the underlying charges and several other factors outlined in S. 985.255 F.S. that might indicate the child’s eligibility for detention care. During the detention screening and intake process, each youth shall be screened for substance abuse, mental health, and other related problems.

The court will review a form drafted by the Office of Health Services, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, under Rule 63N-1, FAC. The form is called “the substance abuse and mental health preliminary screening” form. The purpose of the screening is to help determine if there is a reason to investigate the possibility that the youth’s delinquency situation may be complicated by other problems.

The initial screening must be incorporated into the Pre-Disposition Report (PDR) through a narrative synopsis that summarizes the screening outcomes.


What Can the Judge Order at the Detention Hearing?

After reviewing these documents, the court will decide whether the child should be:

  • released outright with no conditions (0-6 points);
  • released to home detention (10-11 points);
  • release to home detention with evening reporting center (9-10 points);
  • intensive home detention (11 points);
  • intensive home detention with electronic monitoring (12 points);
  • intensive home detention with HSCO electronic monitoring (PJO Youth) (12 points); or
  • hold the child in secure detention for 21 days (13 points or more).

The court makes decisions about releasing the child based on a point system. In many cases, the criminal defense attorney can argue why the points should be substantially lower. Also, the court has wide discretion to add or subtract points to release the most reasonable outcome given the particular circumstances in the case.

If the child is accused of committing an offense of domestic violence as defined in F.S. 741.28(1), and does not meet detention criteria, then the court must determine whether a respite home or similar authorized residential facility for the child is available or if it is necessary to place the child in an alternative setting to protect the alleged victim from further injury.

After the detention hearing, the child and the parents should receive a copy of the “Order for Detention Pending Hearing” and review it carefully. The order might contain special conditions such as a “no contact” order to stay away from the alleged victim or their family. The order is filed with the Department of Juvenile Justice.


What Happens if the Child is Ordered to Remain in Detention for 21 Days?

If the child is ordered to detention, the order will also list the release date. The order will provide: IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to F.S. 985.25 the above-named child shall be released from detention by this ___ day of 2019, if an Adjudicatory Hearing has not commenced in this case. Pursuant to F .S. 985.25, the Court may issue a further order extending the detention period on limited circumstances.

This article is intended to help you understand more about what happens if the child is detained for:

  1. an alleged law violation;
  2. a custody order;
  3. on a pick up ordered issued from the bench by a judge; or
  4. on a DJJ hold order.

Florida’s Order for Cost of Care Recovery

If your child is detained, the court will typically enter an “Order for Cost of Care Recovery.” Pursuant to Chapter 985, Florida Statutes, the parent or guardian must pay for the cost, support, and maintenance of any child placed in the custody of, or committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The parent or guardian will be ordered to pay to the Department of Juvenile Justice, Bureau of Finance and Accounting, $5.00 per day for each day the child is in secure detention and temporary legal custody of the child is with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Low-income parents might be ordered to only pay $1.00 per day.

The fees are reduced in certain cases when the parent or guardian is the victim of the delinquent act or violation of law for which the child is currently detained and is cooperating with the investigation of the offense or of indigence or significant financial hardship.

In some cases, the court will waive the fee based on a finding that the parent or guardian is the victim of the delinquent act and is cooperating with the investigation of the offense; or because of indigence and/or significant financial hardship.

If the child’s case is dismissed or if the child is found “not guilty” of the charges or court order, then the parent/guardian shall not be liable for fees under this order. The parties are advised that an appeal is authorized by law to be filed within 30 days from the date of this order.


Finding a Lawyer for the Juvenile’s Detention Hearings in Hillsborough County, FL

The criminal defense attorney can go to the Hillsborough County Juvenile Detention Center to meet with the child and then represent the child at the detention hearing held in court within 24 hours of the initial detention. At the detention hearing, the criminal defense attorney will explain to the court all of the reasons why the child should be released back to the parent while the case is pending.

In many of these cases, the judge will release the child back to the parents. In some cases, the child will be ordered to remain in the detention center for up to 21 days.

If your child needs an attorney after being accused of a law violation, being subjected to a custody order, being picked up on a “pick up order” issued by the judge, or because of a DJJ hold order, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, at Sammis Law Firm.

We can help you understand the process in juvenile court and help you fight for the best possible resolution of the case. In most of these cases, the best possible result is getting the charges dismissed by the trial court or dropped by the prosecutor.

Contact us to talk with a juvenile defense attorney about the facts of your case and our experience in the juvenile courts in Hillsborough County, FL. Let us put our experience to work for you.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.


This article was last updated on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.

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