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Family Offenses under the NY Family Court Act

New York Family Offenses are often confused with Juvenile Delinquency cases and offenses, and while they are fundamentally different areas of quasi-criminal law, there is still some significant overlap that anyone facing a Family Offense Petition or Juvenile Delinquency case should discuss with your Family Court lawyer or juvenile justice defense attorney. Whether your case is in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Rockland, Westchester, another county in the Hudson Valley or anywhere in New York State, it is essential to understand the very different spheres in which these kinds of cases operate.

Family Offense Petition

Family Offenses, like Juvenile Delinquency cases, are heard in Family Court. However, Family Offenses can be brought against a person of any age, and they are typically brought by another private individual, rather than the government or a quasi-government agency. A Family Offense petition must be brought by a family member of the accused person, or someone similarly situated to a family member. The petition must allege one or more of the select crimes specified in the Family Court Act Section 812. The most typical remedy for a Family Offense is the issuance of an Order of Protection, aka, Restraining Order, against the person who committed the crime.

Some of the most typical crimes found in Family Offense petitions are the same as those in the New York criminal law including:

  • Third Degree Assault (NY PL 120.00) and Second Degree Assault (NY PL 120.05)
  • Third Degree Menacing (NY PL 120.15) and Second Degree Menacing (NY PL 120.14)
  • Second Degree Aggravated Harassment (NY PL 240.30)
  • Any Degree of Criminal Mischief including Fourth and Third Degree Criminal Mischief (NY PL 145.00 and NY PL145.05)
  • Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation (NY PL 121.11)
  • Second Degree Harassment (NY PL 240.26) and First Degree Harassment (NY PL 240.25)
  • Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree (NY PL 120.20)
  • Strangulation in the First Degree (NY PL 121.13) and Strangulation in the Second Degree (NY PL 121.12)
  • Disorderly Conduct (NY PL 240.20)
Juvenile Delinquency Cases

Standing in stark contrast to Family Offense petitions, juvenile delinquency cases involve the accusation by the government and law enforcement that a child under 16 years old is alleged to have committed a crime. While both of these kinds of proceedings are heard in Family Court, and both generally involve an accusation that a crime or non-criminal violation such as Second Degree Harassment, PL 240.26, or Disorderly Conduct, PL 240.20, has occurred, that is largely where the similarities end. Your Family Court attorney or juvenile delinquency defense attorney can further clarify the endless and significant differences in the dynamics of these two kinds of proceedings and advise you how to best to combat the charges or negotiate with the petitioner or prosecutor to resolve the case in an agreeable way.

When a child or youth is accused of a crime, their entire future is at risk. Be smart, prepared and diligent in your effort to protect him or her from a damaged life or even incarceration. Because an alleged mistake a child makes today should not define him or her forever, contact the New York criminal lawyers, juvenile delinquency and youthful offender attorneys, and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law to put your child’s interests, rights and future first.

Call the Former Manhattan Prosecutors and Juvenile Defense Lawyers at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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