Long Island Juvenile Defense Lawyer Working For Your Family

Long Island juvenile criminal defense attorneyHow are criminal offenses that are committed by minors handled by New York’s juvenile justice system? What should parents know if their child is arrested – and where can those parents turn? They will need to contact a Long Island juvenile defense attorney at the Mirsky Law Firm.

In all fifty states, the goals of the juvenile justice system include maintaining the public safety, rehabilitating youthful offenders, addressing their treatment needs, and reintegrating troubled young people back into their communities.

The State of New York no longer charges 16- and 17-year-olds as adults when they commit non-violent crimes. However, starting at age 7, young people in this state can be taken to court if they are accused of committing a criminal offense.

How Are Minors Categorized In New York?

Minors who are charged with offenses in New York are categorized as juvenile delinquents, juvenile offenders, or adolescent offenders. A juvenile delinquent is any child over 7 but under 18 years of age who commits an offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult.

Young people between the ages of 7 and 17 who are convicted may be ordered to supervision, confinement, or treatment. Most New York juvenile cases are heard in a Family Court, where the alleged offense is not called a crime but instead is called a “delinquent act.”

Does A Juvenile Delinquent Go To Jail Or Create A Criminal Record?

Juvenile delinquents in New York do not serve time in adult jails. Rather, the Family Court decides if they need supervision, treatment, or placement through the local social services department or the State of New York Office of Children and Family Services.

In this state, juvenile delinquents do not establish criminal records. And since 2019, 16- and 17-year-olds who are charged with misdemeanors under the law are also considered juvenile delinquents and their cases are also decided in a Family Court.

A child in New York who is 13, 14, or 15-years-old and who is charged with a serious or violent felony is categorized as a “juvenile offender.” 16- and 17-year-olds who are charged with felonies are categorized as “adolescent offenders.”

How Are Adolescent Offender Felony Cases Handled?

Adolescent offender (AO) felony cases go first to the youth section of the Supreme or County Court, but the case may be transferred to the Family Court, where the youth will be considered a juvenile delinquent eligible for the services and programs available to juvenile delinquents.

If the charge is a violent felony, transfer to Family Court depends on whether the AO used a firearm or deadly weapon, whether the offense was a sex crime, or if the offense caused significant physical injury. In such cases, a 16- or 17-year-old may still be tried as an adult.

But if none of these circumstances and no other extraordinary circumstances are present, the child’s case will be moved to a Family Court.

When Minors Are Penalized, What Do Judges Consider?

There are no juries in Family Court cases involving children under 18. When a child under 18 is charged with a delinquent act, a Family Court will conduct a fact-finding hearing. At that hearing, evidence and witnesses are presented to determine if a delinquent act in fact occurred.

If the judge at the fact-finding hearing is persuaded that the child’s guilt has been demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge will find that a wrongful act was committed. Later, a dispositional hearing is conducted where the child’s fate is determined. A judge considers:

  • the child’s behavior and observable mental health at school and at home
  • the nature and details of the delinquent act
  • testimony from the child’s probation officer

Finally, the judge may order the young person placed under supervision, sent to juvenile detention, or confined in some other manner. Although it isn’t called “jail,” a juvenile detention facility is a secure, locked-down facility.

What Are The Other Potential Penalties?

In other cases, a judge may order a term of probation or a conditional discharge – letting the child live at home if the child adheres to specific terms and conditions.

If a juvenile offender fails to comply with the terms and conditions of conditional discharge or probation, another disposition hearing can be conducted, and harsher penalties can be imposed.

Usually, however, the most severe penalty that a juvenile offender will receive in New York is confinement in a juvenile facility until the age of 18 or 21.

How Will A Juvenile Defense Lawyer Help?

If your child is deemed a juvenile offender, the right defense lawyer will work for the best possible disposition of your child’s case – a disposition that doesn’t include confinement.

While current New York law requires the immediate notification of the family when a minor is charged with a delinquent act, the police and prosecutors are still allowed to interrogate minors without a lawyer or a family member present.

However, legislation is currently being considered that would require anyone who is arrested under the age of 18 to consult with a lawyer before any interrogation may be conducted by law enforcement officials.

If your child is accused of a delinquent act, a Long Island juvenile defense lawyer at the Mirsky Law Firm will fight aggressively for your child and your family and will bring the matter to its best possible outcome.

Where Can Parents Turn For Good Legal Help?

Juveniles who are convicted as adults in a criminal court create a criminal record and often have difficulty finding employment. However, a good defense lawyer will help your child by working to keep the case in Family Court and by arguing against having your child tried as an adult.

And unless there is clear proof that your child actually committed a delinquent act, the right juvenile defense attorney will also work to cast doubt on the state’s case against your child – that is, your criminal defense attorney will argue for the equivalent of a not guilty verdict.

If you are a parent on Long Island or in New York City and your child is charged with a delinquent act, arrange to meet with a Long Island juvenile defense attorney at the Mirsky Law Firm by calling 516-200-4373. Our offices are located at 114 Old Country Road in Mineola.

Nothing is more important than our children. If you are a parent, you should know that the Mirsky Law Firm regularly and routinely represents juvenile defendants. We know what it takes to help your family – and to win justice – when your child is in trouble with the law.