Crimes can be committed by people of any age. Depending on the age and the crime, every individual faces their own consequences. New York is only one of two states that will charge an individual over the age of 16 as an adult. However, those between the age of 7 and 16 years old are charged as juveniles if they commit a crime. It is important to know that it only matters how old the offender was when they committed the crime, not their age when they appear in court.
In the state of New York, a juvenile case does not go to Criminal or Municipal Court like other cases. The case is heard in Family Court. A child is referred to as a “juvenile delinquent” if they need to be supervised or confined because of their crimes. Similar to most states, juveniles are required to have an attorney present to represent them in their case. If a parent or guardian cannot afford an attorney, the court will provide them with free representation.
When a juvenile case begins, a prosecutor files a petition against the child who committed the crime. This petition describes the acts the individual is accused of committing. In New York, a juvenile delinquency case trial is a “fact-finding hearing.” This process is similar to a criminal trial, except it does not take place with a jury.
During the trial, a judge will come to the conclusion of whether or not the child committed the crime that was detailed in the petition. This is determined based on evidence that is presented during the trial. If the judge finds significant evidence that backs up the petition, the court moves on to schedule a dispositional hearing. They also order the Probation Department to investigate the juvenile’s behavior at home and school. In some cases, the judge may order a mental evaluation as well.
During this period of time, the juvenile is detained or released into the custody of a guardian until the hearing. This is where the child is sentenced as a delinquent if they are in need of supervision, treatment or confinement. Alternatively, they may be released to a guardian with or without court supervision.
There are some cases in which a child between the ages of 13 and 15 can be tried as an adult if they commit a serious crime or violent act. This takes place in the New York Supreme Court at the discretion of the prosecutor’s office and the juvenile judge. To be tried as an adult, it is required for the crime to be very serious. This may include crimes such as murder, assault, battery, some serious drug offenses, armed robbery, and more.
If you or someone you know is going through a juvenile case and wishes to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Kevin T. Conway today.
Kevin T. Conway has over 30 years of experience as a Spring Valley criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need a Rockland County criminal lawyer, contact our Spring Valley office for a free consultation.