Juvenile Delinquency, Youthful Offenders and Criminal Procedure: FAQ

Because of the unique set of laws in New York State dictate how juvenile cases move through the criminal justice system, whether court proceedings are handled by judges in the Family Courts or Criminal Courts, the agency that prosecutes offenders is either the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) or Child Protective Services (CPS) and the role of probation, anyone facing prosecution as a minor child will have substantive questions. Moreover, beyond these inquiries, other issues will arise for an accused or his or her family including understanding the potential outcomes of a criminal conviction, youthful offender adjudication\, and the finding and meaning of juvenile delinquency. Simply, there are many questions that you not merely should ask your criminal lawyer to best protect a child arrested for alleged illegal conduct, but you must. Some of the frequently asked questions are available below as well as links to more detailed materials. A valuable place to commence your research and to secure a better understanding of the applicable laws, should your child, nephew, niece, granddaughter or any other youth find him or herself caught up in the criminal justice system, consult with a juvenile offender attorney as early in the process as possible.

How Does a Juvenile Delinquency Case Begin in New York

A juvenile case in New York typically begins with a police arrest for conduct at school, outside of school or at home. Any victim of a crime or can file a complaint that can ultimately trigger a law enforcement inquiry and potentially an arrest that may initially start on the same path as if the accused was an adult, but move through a different criminal justice process in the Youth Part or Family Court.

Where are Juvenile Delinquency Cases Heard

Once an arrest is made, the child is brought to Family Court, where the case proceeds. When a child is charged with a serious felony, the case may be heard in an adult criminal court if the child is 13, 14 o 15. Children aged 16 and 17, and who are not charged with particularly serious felonies, may be automatically diverted to a special Youth Park of the adult criminal court.

Will My Child Be Released to Come Home

After a child is brought to New York Family Court in the respective county where an incident allegedly occurred, a probation officer will interview the child. If the probation officer decides not to file formal charges, the child will be released. If charges are filed, there will be an initial hearing before a Family Court judge who will decide if the child may be released while the case is pending. Either trajectory of the case mandates the assistance of a criminal lawyer and one versed in the juvenile court process.

What are the Potential Sentences if a Child is Found Guilty

The potential sentences for a finding that a child is a Juvenile Delinquent include a warning, formal probation, and even placement in a juvenile detention facility, aka, incarceration. Being found a “juvenile delinquent” is not the same as a criminal conviction – it does not give the child a criminal record. Similarly, an older child who is adjudicated to be a Youthful Offender in an adult criminal court also does not have a criminal record. A criminal record, or criminal conviction, is the result of a conviction either by plea or after trial to a criminal charge, whether it be a misdemeanor or felony.

Does My Child Need an Attorney

Children charged with crimes in New York, and every state, have a right to be represented by an attorney during the juvenile delinquency proceedings. It is critical that a child charged with a crime be represented by lawyer who can ensure that your child's rights are protected. Simply, the criminal attorney you ultimately retain will always have the best interest for your child in mind and advocate for him or her just as if the case was pending in a New York Criminal Court.

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 Crotty Saland PC 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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