Determination of Indigence – Juvenile Delinquency in Florida

A Jacksonville, Florida, resident and attorney with a background in product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death cases, Judge Michael Kalil earned his JD from the Stetson College of Law in Florida. Since joining the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Florida as a circuit court judge, Michael Kalil has presided over the Delinquency Court and Dependency Court.

In the case of juvenile delinquency, Florida does not automatically assume a child is indigent. While the law requires that all delinquent juveniles have access to counsel and be represented by an attorney, the state will pay for a public defender only if the child’s parent or guardian is facing significant hardship or has an income of less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. If this is the case, the parent or guardian will be a candidate for indigent defense and will only need to pay an application fee to the clerk. If the application is approved, the minor will be assigned an attorney by the court.

If the parents or guardians are not indigent, they must provide legal services for the youth without the state’s assistance. If they fail to do so, the court will appoint an attorney on behalf of the minor, and the parents/guardians will be liable for all associated fees. The government will impose the debt in the form of a lien against the properties of the parents or guardians.

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