When your child faces criminal charges, both your lives can be turned upside down in what seems like an instant. New York tends to be strict when it comes to penalizing juveniles for criminal offenses, making it even more important to actively work to advocate for their fair treatment. Here’s what juvenile offenders should know about the criminal process.
Juvenile Defendant Age Considerations
A child offender over the age of 7 but under 18 is considered a “juvenile delinquent” under New York law. This means they are processed through a different court system than an adult, where the penalties are typically focused on rehabilitation.
When a Minor Can Be Charged As An Adult In New York
New York law allows for some juvenile defendants to be treated like an adult in criminal court depending on the crime they are accused of, their age, and other factors. For example, a teen juvenile that committed a violent offense is at a higher risk of being tried as an adult than a preteen charged with a lesser crime.
Notable Other Differences in Adult vs. Juvenile Criminal Cases
It’s in your child’s best interests to know what to expect when you go through the New York juvenile criminal process. Having a good understanding of how juvenile cases are different from adult proceedings help you to build a strong defense.
The first thing you should know is that the names for various stages of the case differ. Although the concept is generally the same, juvenile court calls the formal complaint against the defendant a “petition” and calls being found guilty “adjudicated” instead of “convicted.” If the judge has ordered the juvenile to be incarcerated, hospitalized, or otherwise rehabilitated, this process is called a “disposition” instead of being “sentenced.”
Although juveniles are more likely than adults to be offered robust rehabilitation options, they have a disadvantage in the courtroom: juveniles are not afforded the benefit of a trial by jury. Instead, the judge reviews all evidence and issues a verdict in a closed courtroom.
Don’t Wait to Call for Legal Help After Learning Your Child Is Being Investigated
Learning that your child has been charged with a crime is frightening, but your child needs you to take quick and decisive action now more than ever before. Contact Scott Cerbin Criminal Defense today for a consultation to discuss your child’s criminal case and how you can best protect their rights at 718-596-1829.