New York State is one of the few states in the country that prosecutes anyone over the age of 16 as an adult. Anyone who commits a crime between the age of 7 up until their 16th birthday will be charged as a juvenile. Juvenile crimes in New York State are treated differently than crimes committed by those who are 16 years and older. If a child is arrested, the prosecutor will have to file a petition that details the criminal accusations at hand. Instead of referring to the case as a trial like adult criminal proceedings do, it is referred to as a fact-finding hearing, and it takes place in family court. In addition, there is no jury for juvenile hearings.
The information that is assessed during the fact-finding hearing will allow the judge to determine the consequences that the juvenile will face. In some cases, the court will appoint the Probation Department to look further into the juvenile’s behavior at home and at school, as well as the potential to undergo a mental evaluation. If the juvenile needs supervision, treatment, or confinement, they may be considered “delinquent.” The juvenile will then either be detained or released to a guardian.
It is important to be aware that children between the ages of 13 and 15 who commit violent or other serious crimes may be charged as an adult in the New York Supreme Court. This often applies to drug offenses, armed robbery, murder, rape, assault, and more. It is also important to note that all juveniles must be represented by an attorney at the cost of their parent or guardian. If the parent or guardian can prove that they can truly not afford to retain legal counsel, the court may appoint a public defender. However, the legal standard is very high.
If your child has been arrested, contact us today for quality legal representation.
If you are in need of experienced legal counsel for a criminal defense matter on Long Island or throughout New York State, please contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. to schedule a consultation and we would be happy to assist you.