What is Civil Citation?
It is an innovative pre-arrest option for eligible first time misdemeanor youth offenders. Rather than arresting the offending youth, the civil citation program offers early intervention, counseling, education and other appropriate community resources.
The program seeks to identify and address the underlying cause of misconduct and punish youth with disciplinary action that will most likely decrease the likelihood of future occurrences.
Research has shown that youth who have been detained in juvenile justice facilities are more likely to end up deeper in the system and are at a greater risk to re-offend. Civil Citation recidivism rates statewide are 3 - 9 percent after one year.
What are the advantages of the Civil Citation program?
The program enhances public safety by encouraging youth to stay out of trouble. It identifies and assesses behavioral needs. Program advantages include:
Engages parents/guardians and provides treatment and referrals for the youth and their family, if necessary
- Saves time and money by keeping the youth out of the formal juvenile justice system
- Reduces repeat delinquency
- More effective use of resources such as law enforcement officers, state attorney, public defender and probation offices and other criminal justice agencies
What types of offenses are eligible for the Civil Citation program?
Eligible first time offenses include:
- Criminal mischief/vandalism
- Simple Battery
- Harassing phone calls
- Petite theft (under $300)
- Fleeing and eluding
- Disorderly conduct
- Disruption of a school function
- Resisting arrest without violence/obstruction
- Violation of county/city ordinances
Any misdemeanor criminal office, with the exception of traffic violations, gang related activities and domestic violence, will be accepted.
What exactly does civil citation require a youth to do?
The youth can be required to perform up to 50 hours of community service and must participate in intervention services based on an assessment of their needs, which may include family counseling, drug screening, substance abuse treatment, and/or mental health treatment. Additional sanctions or services include a letter of apology to the victim(s), restitution, school progress monitoring or prevocational skill services.
Is there any cost to participate in the program?
Services are provided at no cost to the youth or family.
What is the impact on the juvenile's record?
Once the youth has successfully completed the program, he/she will have no criminal record.
Can I refuse to participate in the Civil Citation program?
Civil Citation is a voluntary program. The youth and parent/guardian must agree to participate and abide by the rules in order to complete the program. If a youth chooses to not participate, their case will be forwarded to the Broward County State Attorney's Office for prosecution.
What are some of the consequences for not choosing to participate?
If a youth chooses not to participate, he/she will be arrested and subject to prosecution. Their record will now show an arrest, which can limit future job options, such as serving in the military, as a caretaker, teacher, nurse, etc.