Florida Guidelines of Practice
Published May 21, 2013, Juvenile Justice Center
All children charged with delinquent acts have a constitutional right to legal representation. In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 30-31, 37 (1967), State v. T.G., 800 So.2d 204, 210 (Fla. 2001). These Delinquency Guidelines are meant to help attorneys fulfill this role by zealously representing children in Florida within the confines of the United States and Florida Constitutions and the Rules of Professional Conduct. The guidelines were promulgated by the Legal Needs of Children’s Standing Committee of The Florida Bar after review of numerous national and state standards. These guidelines address the specific roles and responsibilities of an attorney appointed or retained to defend a child in a delinquency case.
They are intended to serve as a guide for an attorney’s performance in delinquency proceedings and to contain a set of recommendations to assist attorneys in providing quality representation for children. The guidelines may also be used as a training tool. The recommendations covered in these guidelines are not to be undertaken automatically in every case. Instead, the advocacy used should be tailored to the requirements of a particular case. In deciding what is appropriate, an attorney should use his or her best professional judgment.