When Will I Get out of the Detention Center?

Detention Hearing

If the child is detained, the child will be taken before a judge within 24 hours for a detention hearing. The purpose of the detention hearing is for the judge to:

  • Explain the nature of charges against the child;
  • Determine whether the police had probable cause to take the child into custody;
  • Determine whether the child’s family can pay for an attorney, and if they cannot, appoint the Public Defender;
  • Set a date for the adjudicatory hearing (trial); and,
  • Determine whether the continued detention of the child is necessary.

If the judge determines that the child should remain detained, the judge has the three levels of detention security and supervision available: home detention, non-secure detention and secure detention. Pre-trial detention cannot exceed 21 days without a hearing.

Juvenile Detention

A judge can order that a child be held in secure detention (a lock-up facility that is the juvenile justice system’s equivalent of adult jail) if the child is assessed to be a risk to public safety. The child can be confined for up to 21 days while awaiting judicial disposition of the charges. The judge also has the option to order non-secure detention or home detention, which can involve the use of electronic monitoring.

Home detention is similar to “house arrest” in the adult system. A youth can be placed in his home, the home of a responsible friend or relative, a dependency shelter or foster home setting. The DJJ will make periodic face-to-face and telephone contact with the youth and the youth’s family and school personnel. The child cannot leave the home except to attend school without special permission. The judge may require that the youth wear an electronic monitoring device.

Non-secure detention is an alternative with a home-like setting. The judge may require the youth to wear an electronic monitoring device. The provider of the non-secure detention is responsible for ensuring that the youth receives adequate supervision and attends school, court and scheduled appointments. the provider also must supply proper food, shelter, medicine and recreational opportunities.

Secure detention is a jail-like facility operated by the DJJ. The judge may order secure detention for a youth depending on the charges, previous history, home and school assessments and public safety concerns.

Possible Transfer to Adult Court

The prosecutor may seek to have a child transferred to adult court. In that case, the prosecutor typically announces the State’s intent to “direct file” the child into adult court at the detention hearing. The case is reset for the State to report on its direct file decision. If the child is detained, the reset date remains 21 days from the date the child was taken into custody.



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Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida


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