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Juvenile Appeals in Florida

In Florida, the direct appeal from an adjudicatory order in juvenile court must be taken by the child or the child's parent or guardian to the appropriate district court as required in §924.051 and Fla. Rules of Appellate Procedure.

The procedures for juvenile delinquency appeals are contained in Florida Statute Sections 985.534-985.536. The juvenile trial courts in Florida oversee two of these procedures:

  • the motion for rehearing under Rules 8.130; and
  • the motion for extraordinary relief under Rule 8.140.

Attorneys for Juvenile Appeals in Florida

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm understand the procedures for appeals in juvenile delinquency appeals throughout Florida. This article discusses a direct appeal, the appeal of a restitutional order, the motion for rehearing, or the motion for extraordinary relief.

If your child went to trial in juvenile court and you wish to appeal the outcome of the case or a restitution order, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Sammis Law Firm. Our experienced criminal appellate attorneys in Tampa, FL, are here to answer your questions.

With offices in Tampa and New Port Richey, FL, we represent children and their parents in criminal and juvenile appeals throughout the State of Florida. Call 813-250-0500.


Motion for Rehearing in Juvenile Courts

Under Rule 8.130(a), the child can more for a hearing after the judge in juvenile court has entered a ruling for any of the following:

  • a pretrial motion;
  • an order of adjudication; or
  • an order withholding adjudication.

As explained in Rule 8.130(a)(1)-(6), the grounds for these motions include a showing that:

  • the trial court erred in the decision of any matter of law arising during the hearing;
  • the child did not receive a fair and impartial hearing;
  • the child was not present at the hearing even though the child's presence was required;
  • new and material evidence exists, which if it had been introduced at the hearing, would probably have changed the court's decision and could not with reasonable diligence have been discovered before and produced at the hearing;
  • the trial court is without jurisdiction of the proceeding; or
  • the judgment is contrary to the law and evidence. 

A motion for rehearing must be made within 10 days of the entry of the order being challenged. As provided in Rule 8.130(b)(1), the motion can be made as soon as the court announces its judgment. 

As provided in Rule 8.130(b)(1), the court may rule upon the motion immediately. Under Rule 8.130(c)(1), if the court grants the motion, the court may modify or vacate the order in all or in part and allow additional proceedings as it deems just. The court may enter a new judgment, and can keep the child in detention pending further proceedings under Rule 8.130(c)(1).

Under Rule 8.130(c)(2), the court may on its own initiative vacate or modify any order, as long as it is done within 10 days of the entry of the order.

The motion for rehearing will toll the time for the taking of an appeal as explained in Rule 8.130(b)(3).


Motion for Extraordinary Relief in Juvenile Court

The court may on motion and “upon such terms as are just” under Rule 8.140(a), provide a party or party's legal representative extraordinary relief from an order, judgment, or proceeding. Such relief can be based on the following grounds:

  • Mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;

  • Newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for rehearing;

  • Fraud (intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or other misconduct of any other party; or

  • That the order of judgment is void. 

As provided in Rule 8.140(b), the motion must be made within a reasonable time – for the first three bases, not more than one year after the judgment, order, or proceeding was taken.


How are Issues Preserved for Appeals in Juvenile Court

In L.B. v. State, 10 So. 3d 1161 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009), the court held:

“To preserve an issue for appeal, a litigant must make a timely, contemporaneous objection, stating a legal ground for that objection. The purpose for the rule is to ‘place the trial judge on notice that error may have been committed, and provide him an opportunity to correct it at an early stage of the proceedings.’"


Appeal from Juvenile Court to the Appellate Court

As provided in Rule 9.140(b)(3), the child or his or her legal parent or guardian may file an appeal at any time between rendition of the final judgment and 30 days following rendition of a written order imposing sentence.

The child may appeal from a judgment based on a no contest plea if the child expressly reserved the right to appeal a dispositive order of the court, identifying with particularity the point of law being reserved. M.N. v. State, 16 So. 3d 280 (Fla. 2d DCA 2009).

The failure to preserve an issue for review after the entry of a plea is not a jurisdictional bar but rather a limitation on the issues that can be addressed on appeal. Leonard v. State, So. 2d 114 (Fla. 2000).

An issue is not properly preserved for appeal unless there is an express reservation of the right to appeal a particular point of law and the court determines that its prior order on that point was dispositive. T.A.R. v. State, 2 So. 3d 993 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008).

The state may file appeal on a limited number of grounds, Rule 9.145(c), within 15 days of the rendition of the order to be reviewed. Rule 9.140(c)(3). The taking of an appeal does not operate as supersedeas unless pursuant to a court order. §985.534(3).

An appeal by the state on an order from a pre-adjudicatory hearing will stay the case until the appeal is determined. §985.535(2). If the appellate court determines that the subject matter of the order would materially assist the state in proving its case against another child (not the child in the current case), the appellate court can stay that child's case until the current appeal is determined. §985.535(2).

While an appeal is pending, the trial court has discretion over whether to release the child or retain him or her in custody. §985.535(2). The appellate court must decide the question under §985.536(2), when the state appeals from a ruling on a question of law adverse to the state of Florida.


This article was last updated on Friday, August 24, 2018.