Why can juveniles be charged as adults?



    In New York, juveniles can be tried as adults in court. This can happen in certain circumstances but not for all cases involving a juvenile. The court in New York state believes that 17 and 18 year olds should be tried as adults. This law has been in effect for decades. If a child that is 16 years of age or younger commits a serious crime or a violent act, then they may be tried as an adult. They may be waived up to the criminal court and tried as an adult would be by facing the penalties in the same way. The prosecutor’s office and the juvenile judge have the authority to demand that a child is tried as an adult in court. However, the crime must be pretty serious for this consequence to occur. Some crimes that may constitute such an act can include murder, assault, serious drug offenses, rape or armed robbery.

    In the state, there is an opportunity for a “reverse waiver” as well. This gives the opportunity for a child to be transferred back to the family court instead of being tried as an adult. A criminal defense attorney can help with a reverse waiver action. This may prevent harsher consequences for a child and the ability to protect their future.

    How are juveniles classified?

    In New York state, juveniles are all those under the age of 16. They must be at least 7 years old to be tried as a juvenile. All those individuals over the age of 16 will be tried as an adult. If the child was 16 or younger when the crime was committed, then they may be charged as a juvenile. When a child is defined as a “juvenile delinquent,” it means that they need supervision, treatment or confinement. This could mean that they are more dangerous than other individuals who are classified as a juvenile. It could also be attributed to the mental state of the child.

    Juveniles must have legal representation while they are in court. Throughout the process, an attorney must be present to represent their best interests. If guardians of the child cannot afford an attorney, they can present their situation to the court. The court may provide support.

    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.

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