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Defending Juvenile Offenders

Can a conviction as a juvenile impact my child’s future?

Our criminal justice system penalizes juveniles at high rates and subjects them to, at times, stringent penalties. According to statistics published by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, over 800,000 juveniles were arrested across the nation in 2017. Roughly half of those juveniles arrested will be incarcerated. Those children routinely placed into the juvenile justice system are overwhelmingly youths of color; those living in poverty; children with disabilities; children of neglect or abuse; children in foster care; and children who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Children who have been charged with a criminal offense will require representation by an experienced NYC juvenile criminal defense lawyer to protect their future.

Who Can Be Charged as a Juvenile in New York?

Previously, in the state of New York, any youth 16 years and older could be charged as an adult. New York passed a bill known as the Raise the Age law, with the first part of it taking effect in October of 2018. Currently, those 17 years of age and older can be charged as an adult. As of October of 2019, the age will raise to 18. The Raise the Age law was passed in recognition that the adolescent brain is still developing and children below the age of 18 may not fully recognize the consequences of their actions.
Further, the study recognized the detrimental impact of trying teens as adults. The commissioned study found that children charged as adults were 34 percent more likely to be rearrested for violent crimes than those youths who remained in the juvenile justice system. Youths in adult prisons are also far more likely to experience abuse and sexual assault.

The Juvenile Justice System in New York

If your child has been charged in juvenile court, it is important that you understand the major differences between adult and juvenile court. Juveniles are not charged with crimes; rather, they will be charged with a delinquent act. Juvenile court is held through the New York Family Court system. Juvenile hearings tend to focus on fact finding, but the evidence must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the youth committed the act.

This is not to say that juvenile crimes should be taken lightly. To the contrary, a juvenile conviction could result in lengthy jail times, rehabilitation, fines, and probation. Certain juvenile convictions must also be disclosed when your child applies for a job, education loan, or university admissions. As such, it is vital that you contact a juvenile criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after the arrest to protect your child.

Posted in: Criminal Defense