Crimes are committed by people of all ages. New York is one of only two states that will charge any individual over the age of 16 as an adult. However, when a crime is committed by an individual between the ages of 7 and 16 years old, it is considered a juvenile crime. It is important to know that it does not matter how old the person is when they appear in court, only how old they are when they committed the crime.
In the state of New York, a juvenile case is heard in Family Court. It does not go to Criminal or Municipal Court like other cases. If a child needs to be supervised or confined because of their crimes, they are referred to as a “juvenile delinquent.” As in most states, juveniles must have an attorney present to represent them in their case. If a parent or guardian cannot afford one, the court will appoint representation to the client, free of cost.
When a juvenile case begins, a prosecutor will file a petition against the child. This petition contains a description of the acts they are accused of committing. In the state of New York, a juvenile delinquency case trial is referred to as a “fact-finding hearing.” The process is similar to that of a criminal trial, except it does not take place with a jury.
During the trial, a judge will determine and come to a decision on whether or not the child committed the crime that was detailed in the petition. This is determined by a judge based on the evidence presented during the trial. If the judge finds substantial evidence that supports the petition, the court schedules a dispositional hearing. In addition to this, they order the Probation Department to investigate the juvenile’s behavior at home and school. In some cases, the judge will order a mental evaluation.
During this time, the juvenile is detained or released into the custody of a guardian until the dispositional hearing. This hearing is where the juvenile is sentenced as a delinquent if they are in need of supervision, treatment or confinement. They may also be released to a guardian with or without the need for court supervision.
Juveniles Tried as Adults
If a child between the ages of 13 and 15 commit a serious crime or violent act, they may be treated as an adult in the New York Supreme Court. This is done at the discretion of the prosecutor’s office and the juvenile judge. It is required that the crime is serious for a court to try a juvenile as an adult. Crimes that call for this may include murder, assault, battery, some serious drug offenses, armed robbery, and more.
Contact our Firm
If you or someone you know is going through a juvenile case and wishes to speak with an experienced attorney, contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. to schedule a consultation and we would be happy to assist you.