Youthful Offender Sentencing in Florida

Florida has enacted an alternative sentencing scheme for youthful offenders convicted of felony offenses before their 21st birthday. [1]

Eligibility for Youthful Offender Sentencing

A court has the discretion to impose a Youthful Offender sentence under the following circumstances:

  1. The defendant is younger than 21 years of age on the day of sentencing;
  2. The defendant was found guilty of, or pled nolo contendere or guilty to, any non-capital or non-life felony crime; and
  3. The defendant has not previously been sentenced as a youthful offender.

Youthful Offender Sentencing Disposition

Before a person can be sentenced as a Youthful Offender, a court must:

  1. Determine that a person qualifies for Youthful Offender sentencing; and
  2. Agree to exercise the discretion to impose a Youthful Offender sentencing

If both of these conditions exist, the court may impose any combination of the following penalties notwithstanding the mandatory minimum prison sentence required under the adult Criminal Punishment Code.

  1. Up to six (6) years of probation or community control.
  2. Up to 365 days of incarceration as a condition of probation or community control, which shall be served in either a:
    1. County Jail Facility;
    2. Department Probation and Restitution Center; or
    3. Community Residential Facility
  3. A split sentence of prison and probation, with the prison term not to exceed four (4) years.
  4. Up to six (6) years prison.


If a court sentences a Youthful Offender to probation, community control, or jail as a condition of probation or community control, a judge may, but is not required to, withhold adjudication of guilt; thereby allowing the youthful offender's civil rights to be maintained.

Youthful Offender Sentencing Limitations

Violation of Probation

If a person placed on probation or community control under the Youthful Offender Act commits a new criminal offense while on probation or community control, they can be re-sentenced up to the maximum allowable prison sentence under the adult Criminal Punishment Code notwithstanding their designation as a Youthful Offender. [2]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.


  1. Florida Statute 958.04
  2. Florida Statute 958.14