Sixteen and 17 year old teenagers are considered minors for the most part, but there are a few exceptions, like if they are charged with a crime in New York. Yes, in this state, children are presumptively prosecuted and tried as adults normally. Now, because of their age, minors have other options that a good criminal attorney can help them understand if given a chance.
One important thing to keep in mind during these trying times is that there is the new Raise the Age law, which was passed under Governor Cuomo. This law helps steer 16 and 17 year old children to the Youth Courts. The law is intended to help, but even if you are not eligible for its benefits, you are still going to have a chance for Youthful Offender adjudication. The reason you want this adjudication is because the potential sentences are less severe than the potential sentences an adult would suffer. In addition to that, you are also going to be able to escape a criminal record that would follow you for the rest of your life.
Whether it is by using Cuomo’s new law or the Youthful Offender adjudication, the laws you’ll have to navigate are quite complex, so having an experienced lawyer by your side is of the utmost importance.
Digging Into the Youthful Offender Adjudication
When it comes to Youthful Offender Adjudications or YO Adjudications, the law is the same no matter what court you go to court in the state. All rules regarding these adjudications can be examined if you simply look at New York Criminal Procedure Law, Section 720.10 through 720.35. It is vital that you understand Mandatory and Discretionary YO.
You are going to get one chance for YO if you commit a misdemeanor, and you also get one YO for a felony charge. You will not be eligible for a second YO.
A child’s first misdemeanor conviction is automatically considered a YO Adjudication as long as the child was the right age when the conviction takes place. This means the conviction will not become a criminal record. A second misdemeanor conviction is not going to be pardoned and will definitely go on record as a criminal conviction.
If a child is convicted of a felony, then the courts will decide to adjudicate the child or not. If the child does get the adjudication, then the child will no longer be eligible for a second one. So, the Mandatory YO happens automatically, and the Discretionary YO occurs when a judge decides to give it to you, depending on the circumstances of the crime.
On top of all the protections and benefits children are afforded that were just mentioned, children also have an opportunity to be tried in special courts. These courts are known as Adolescent Diversion Parts or Youth Parts, and they exists to help deal with the prosecution of kids that are 16 or 17 years of age. Of course, kids who are being given the chance to be prosecuted in these types of courts must be eligible.
The child would be charged with a non-violent offence if he or she is to be tried in one of these courts. It should also be pointed out that these courts are only available in certain places throughout the state. At the moment, you may find the court in the Bronx, Erie, Kings, Nassau, Onondaga, New York, Queens, Richmond, and Westchester.
The sentences and freedoms in these courts have been expanded, thanks to Cuomo and the Raise the Age Law that was mentioned earlier. These courts are handled by judges who have been trained to deal with family law. When 30 days pass, felony cases involving children are sent to Family Courts. It is there where these cases are dealt with as a regular Juvenile Delinquency case though there are exceptions if the felony is violent enough to keep that specific case in the adult courts. If the victim was physically harmed, if the child used a deadly weapon, or if the child was involved in a sex crime, then that child’s acts will remain in an adult court.
When your case is in the Youth Parts courts, then you should expect the process to be similar to an adult court. It is important to have a good attorney who can help you deal with your case, and that means a lawyer who is experienced in criminal cases, juvenile crimes, and has worked in family courts.
You are going to have to keep in mind that a child’s future is on the line. You cannot take a chance, so making sure you do everything possible to improve the child’s odds is of the utmost importance. Hiring a lawyer is one thing that is going to improve these odds.
Go ahead and contact our New York-based lawyers who can help you at this time.
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