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Infancy (Age) Defense in Florida



Understanding Infancy (Age) Defense in Florida

When it comes to the complexities of the legal system, the infancy defense is a pivotal consideration within Florida’s criminal justice framework. This defense is predicated on the understanding that children under a certain age lack the capacity to commit crimes with the same level of intent as adults. But what exactly constitutes the infancy defense in Florida, and how does it apply within the legal landscape?

The infancy defense in Florida refers to a legal principle that exempts individuals below a certain age from being prosecuted for criminal acts, based on the premise that they lack the developmental capacity to form criminal intent.

This defense not only highlights the state’s recognition of developmental psychology but also underscores a commitment to a justice system that is both fair and adaptive to all individuals, regardless of age. The legal basis for this defense is rooted in Florida Statutes and case law, which collectively establish the age thresholds and conditions under which this defense can be invoked.

For instance, in Florida, children under the age of 7 are presumed incapable of committing a crime. This presumption is based on the legal doctrine of doli incapax, which suggests that children of this age do not possess the mental capacity to understand the wrongfulness of their actions. Between the ages of 7 and 14, there is a rebuttable presumption against capacity, meaning the state can challenge this presumption if evidence suggests the child understood their actions were wrong.

The application of the infancy defense is not uniform across all types of crimes. It’s primarily considered in cases where the mental state or intent of the accused is a key element of the offense. This nuanced approach ensures that the legal system remains sensitive to the developmental stages of young individuals, while also maintaining the integrity of the justice system.

At Leppard Law, we understand the intricacies of the infancy defense and its implications for young defendants and their families. Our team, led by Joe Easton and John Vallillo, brings over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience to the table, ensuring that every client receives the personalized and effective representation they deserve. If you’re facing a situation where the infancy defense may be applicable, contact us at 407-476-4111 for a consultation. Let our expertise guide you through the complexities of the legal process, ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

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Understanding the legal foundation of the infancy defense is crucial for anyone navigating the criminal justice system in Florida, especially for younger individuals and their guardians. It’s not just about knowing the law; it’s about understanding how it applies to your specific situation and how it can be leveraged for your defense. With the right legal team, like Leppard Law, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you have the best possible defense strategy tailored to your case.

For more information on how we can assist you, or to learn more about the various defenses available in Florida, including the infancy defense, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our commitment to excellence and our innovative defense strategies have earned us over 300 five-star Google reviews, making us a trusted name in Florida’s legal community.

Eligibility Criteria for Infancy (Age) Defense

When navigating the legal landscape in Florida, understanding the eligibility criteria for the infancy defense is crucial for young defendants and their guardians. This defense is not universally applicable and is contingent upon a variety of factors, including the age of the defendant and the nature of the charges they face. It’s a nuanced area of law where the expertise of seasoned defense attorneys like those at Leppard Law can make a significant difference.

Florida law delineates clear age thresholds that determine the application of the infancy defense. These thresholds are pivotal in assessing a young defendant’s legal responsibility and potential culpability. Here’s a breakdown of these critical age categories and their implications:

  • Under 7 Years Old: Children under this age are presumed incapable of committing a crime due to their inability to form criminal intent. This presumption is absolute, offering full protection under the infancy defense.
  • Between 7 and 14 Years Old: For children within this age range, there is a rebuttable presumption of incapacity. However, this presumption can be challenged if there is compelling evidence that the child understood the wrongfulness of their actions.
  • Over 14 Years Old: Once a child surpasses the age of 14, they are generally presumed capable of committing crimes and being held accountable, similar to adults. However, the specifics of the case and the child’s mental capacity can still influence legal outcomes.

These age-related legal standards underscore the importance of having knowledgeable defense attorneys who can navigate the complexities of the infancy defense. At Leppard Law, our team, led by Joe Easton and John Vallillo, leverages over 60 years of combined criminal defense experience to advocate for young defendants effectively.

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Understanding the eligibility criteria for the infancy defense involves more than just knowing a child’s age. It requires a deep dive into the specifics of each case, the child’s mental and emotional development, and the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. Our attorneys at Leppard Law specialize in presenting a comprehensive defense that considers all these factors, aiming to protect the rights and futures of young individuals.

For families facing the daunting prospect of navigating the criminal justice system, knowing that there are dedicated professionals who can guide them through this challenging time is invaluable. If you believe the infancy defense may apply to your case, or if you have any questions about juvenile defense strategies, contact Leppard Law at 407-476-4111 for a consultation. Our commitment to excellence and our innovative defense strategies have earned us over 300 five-star Google reviews, making us a trusted name in Florida’s legal community.

Remember, early intervention by experienced defense attorneys can be crucial in cases involving young defendants. Whether it’s challenging the presumption of capacity, negotiating with prosecutors, or presenting mitigating evidence, the team at Leppard Law is prepared to fight tirelessly for the best possible outcome. Don’t navigate this complex legal landscape alone; let our expertise and personal touch make a difference in your case.

Challenges and Limitations of Infancy (Age) Defense

The infancy defense, while a vital aspect of juvenile justice in Florida, is not without its challenges and limitations. Navigating the legal hurdles to effectively assert this defense requires a deep understanding of both statutory laws and case precedents. It’s a terrain where the expertise of seasoned attorneys like those at Leppard Law becomes indispensable.

Asserting the infancy defense in Florida courts involves several strategic considerations. Defense attorneys must meticulously gather evidence, including psychological evaluations, to demonstrate the defendant’s inability to understand the wrongfulness of their actions due to their age. Expert testimony often plays a crucial role in these cases, providing insight into the cognitive development of young defendants.

  • Evidentiary Requirements: Establishing a successful infancy defense necessitates comprehensive evidence that showcases the defendant’s mental and emotional maturity at the time of the alleged offense. This often involves securing expert witnesses who can testify to the developmental stages of children and how these impact their decision-making capabilities.
  • Prosecutorial Objections: Prosecutors may challenge the infancy defense by presenting evidence or arguments that aim to prove the defendant had sufficient understanding of their actions. Overcoming these objections requires a defense strategy that not only counters the prosecution’s claims but also compellingly argues the relevance of age in determining culpability.
  • Legal Reforms Impact: Recent legal reforms can affect the viability of the infancy defense. Staying abreast of legislative changes and understanding how they influence juvenile justice is crucial for defense attorneys. For instance, adjustments to age thresholds or the introduction of new criteria for assessing culpability can significantly alter defense strategies.

At Leppard Law, our approach to these challenges is rooted in a combination of legal acumen and a compassionate understanding of our young clients’ situations. Our attorneys, including Joe Easton and John Vallillo, leverage their extensive experience to navigate the complexities of the infancy defense. By employing innovative defense strategies and advocating tirelessly on behalf of our clients, we aim to achieve the most favorable outcomes while safeguarding the futures of young defendants.

For families grappling with the uncertainties of the juvenile justice system, the support of knowledgeable attorneys can make a significant difference. If your child is facing criminal charges and you believe the infancy defense may be applicable, we encourage you to reach out to Leppard Law at 407-476-4111 for a consultation. Our commitment to excellence, coupled with our personalized approach to each case, ensures that we fight hard for our clients, aiming to protect their rights and provide a beacon of hope during challenging times.

Remember, the legal journey for young defendants is fraught with challenges, but with the right legal team, navigating these obstacles becomes a path to justice and redemption. Let the expertise and personal touch of Leppard Law guide you through this process, ensuring that your child’s rights are defended with the utmost care and professionalism.


Exploring real-world applications of the infancy (age) defense in Florida provides invaluable insights into its potential impact on legal outcomes. Through a series of notable case studies, we can understand how this defense has been successfully leveraged, the arguments that swayed judicial decisions, and the broader implications for sentencing and rehabilitation.

Let’s delve into a few pivotal cases where the infancy defense played a critical role in the legal proceedings, shedding light on the nuanced approaches adopted by defense attorneys and the judiciary’s perspective on juvenile culpability.

Impact on Sentencing and Rehabilitation

The successful application of the infancy defense can significantly alter the course of sentencing, opening avenues for rehabilitation rather than punitive measures. This outcome not only reflects a compassionate approach towards juvenile offenders but also underscores the justice system’s recognition of the developmental differences between children and adults.

  • Case Study 1: In a groundbreaking case, a 12-year-old was charged with burglary. The defense argued that the defendant’s age and cognitive development impaired his ability to fully comprehend the consequences of his actions. The court, persuaded by expert testimony on child psychology, opted for a rehabilitation program instead of incarceration, emphasizing the potential for behavioral reform.
  • Case Study 2: Another case involved a 14-year-old charged with vandalism. The defense utilized the infancy defense, highlighting the teenager’s impulsive behavior and susceptibility to peer pressure. The court ruled in favor of probation and community service, coupled with mandatory counseling, to address the underlying issues contributing to the defendant’s behavior.

These cases illustrate the judiciary’s willingness to consider alternative sentencing that focuses on rehabilitation, especially when the infancy defense is compellingly presented. Such outcomes not only benefit the young defendants by providing them with the opportunity to rectify their mistakes but also serve the broader societal interest by reducing recidivism rates among juveniles.

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At Leppard Law, our experienced attorneys understand the critical nuances of employing the infancy defense in Florida. Our approach is tailored to each case, ensuring that every young client receives the most effective representation possible. We believe in the potential for rehabilitation and work tirelessly to secure outcomes that reflect this belief.

If your child is facing criminal charges and you believe the infancy defense may be applicable, do not hesitate to contact us at 407-476-4111. Our team, including Joe Easton and John Vallillo, is ready to provide the expert guidance and compassionate support your family needs during this challenging time.

Remember, navigating the complexities of the juvenile justice system requires skilled legal representation. Let Leppard Law be your advocate, fighting for a future that remains unburdened by the mistakes of youth.


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FAQs: Infancy (Age) Defense in Florida

Have more questions about the Infancy (Age) Defense in Florida or need legal representation for a juvenile case? Contact us today for a free consultation and see how we can help protect your loved one’s future.

Other Practice Areas We Serve

Exploring the full spectrum of legal defenses is crucial for a comprehensive defense strategy. Here’s a glance at additional areas we specialize in:

Understanding Adequate Provocation in Florida Homicide Cases The Alibi Defense in Florida
Automatism Defense in Florida: When Actions Are Involuntary Guide to the Consent Defense in Florida
The Coercion Defense in Florida Corpus Delicti
Defense of Others in Florida Explained Defense of Property in Florida Explained
Double Jeopardy in Florida Explained Duress in Florida Explained
The Entrapment Defense in Florida Explained Florida Brady Material and Brady Violations Explained
Hearsay in Florida Criminal Cases How to Use Mitigation to Get a Better Plea Deal in Florida
What Is an Illegal De Facto Arrest How to Suppress Evidence Based Upon an Illegal Home Entry by Police

List of Top-Rated Infancy (Age) Defense in Florida Attorneys Serving Florida

Choosing the right legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Our team of top-rated attorneys is dedicated to providing the best defense for Infancy (Age) cases, ensuring you’re well-informed and prepared at every stage.

  • John Vallillo: With a blend of prosecutorial insight and defense strategies, John Vallillo offers a robust defense for those facing charges in Florida.
  • Joe Easton: Joe Easton’s extensive experience and proactive approach make him a formidable advocate for your defense.
  • Joel Leppard: As the guiding force behind Leppard Law, Joel Leppard’s innovative and client-focused strategies have solidified the firm’s reputation for excellence.

Discover What Our Clients Are Saying

At Leppard Law, we pour our dedication and expertise into every case, and the positive feedback from our clients reflects our commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes. We’re proud to be one of Central Florida’s top-rated defense firms, as evidenced by our numerous 5-star reviews.



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Ready to Stand with Leppard Law?

At Leppard Law, we don’t just see you as a case; we see you as family. We know the weight a criminal charge can carry, and we’re here to lift that burden off your shoulders. With a focus on Infancy (Age) Defense in Florida, our team is well-versed in navigating the complexities of the law to protect your future.

Imagine having a defense team that not only knows the ins and outs of your case but also understands you. A team that fights relentlessly for your rights and aims for the best possible outcome. That’s what we offer at Leppard Law. Our attorneys, including Joe Easton and John Vallillo, bring over 60 years of combined experience in criminal defense, offering you a blend of expertise and a personal touch that’s hard to find elsewhere.

“Your case is our mission. We fight hard, communicate openly, and stand by you every step of the way. Experience the difference at Leppard Law.”

Why choose us? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Personalized Attention: We treat you like family, ensuring you’re supported and informed throughout your case.
  • Expertise and Experience: Our team’s extensive background, including former prosecutors, gives us a unique edge in defending your case.
  • Proven Track Record: With countless dismissals and reductions, our results speak for themselves.
  • Highly Rated: Our commitment to excellence is reflected in our numerous five-star reviews and accolades, including being listed among the “Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” by Expertise from 2016-2024.

Don’t navigate this challenging time alone. Let Leppard Law be your advocate, your guide, and your defense. If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, call us today at 407-476-4111 for a free consultation. Discover the peace of mind that comes with having a dedicated, compassionate, and skilled legal team by your side.

Awards and Recognitions

Award Name Granting Organization Year Criteria Link
Listed among the “Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Orlando” Expertise 2024 Comprehensive evaluation process Expertise.com
Awesome Attorneys Orlando Orlando Family Magazine 2023 Selected by readers and legal peers Orlando Family Magazine
Martindale Hubbell “Client Champion Platinum” Martindale Hubbell 2024 Less than 1% of attorneys selected Martindale Hubbell

With Leppard Law, you’re not just getting a lawyer; you’re gaining a team that’s committed to your defense. Call 407-476-4111 now and take the first step towards securing your future.

Trusted Content

Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Expert Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects our firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, doesn’t just offer legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into victories. His approach combines tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensuring your case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton