When Can a Juvenile Be Placed on Community Control for a Long Period of Time ?

In M.B. v. State, 693 So. 2d 1066 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997), the trial judge found M.B. guilty of battery, withheld adjudication, and placed him on community control for an indeterminate period of time. On appeal, MB argued that an indeterminate period of community control exceeded the maximum term permitted under section 39.054(1)(a)1. The Fourth District upheld the indeterminate period of community control. See 693 So. 2d at 1067. In so doing, it reasoned that sections 39.054(1) and 39.054(4) "are applicable only when the court is dealing with a child who has been adjudicated delinquent.... Thus, the restrictions relating to commitment or comparisons to adult sanctions are not involved." Id. at 1066-67; accord M.G., 696 So. 2d at 1341. In a similar manner, the Fifth District at one point also recognized the distinction that section 39.054(1) only applies to juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent. For example, in D.V.S. v. State, 632 So. 2d 221 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994), just as in N.W. v. State, 736 So. 2d 710 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999), a juvenile was found guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. The court withheld adjudication and placed D.V.S. on community control for six months. D.V.S. challenged his six-month community control disposition, arguing that under section 39.054(1)(a)1 and section 39.054(4), the maximum period of time he could be placed on community control was sixty days (i.e., the maximum period of imprisonment that an adult could serve for the same offense). The district court proceeded to make the specific distinction that section 39.054(1) "applies only when the court is dealing with 'an adjudicated delinquent child.' Since D.V.S. was non-adjudicated, the provisions of 39.053 are applicable and the restrictions relating to 'commitment' or comparisons with adult sanction are not involved." Id. at 222. As a result, it upheld the six-month term of community control under section 39.053. See id.