One thing that every parent dreads is a call from the police notifying them they are required down at the station due to their child. Well, this can largely be blamed on what parents have seen and heard on TV about the penal system though this is not to say they should not be worried.
This is a fear that indeed should be alive considering over 7,800 youths between 7 and 15 years were arrested in 2014 in NYC alone and more than 5,400 cases were forwarded to the legal department. Over 3,400 juvenile delinquency cases were filed in the NYC Law Department’s Family Court Division again highlighting the gravity of the issue.
No Matter the crime your child is accused of, the ensuing process (even if they are acquitted) is emotionally draining. This is a journey you should not walk alone. The Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel, Esq.
has professional family lawyers who have dealt with myriad juvenile cases. We are ready and willing to listen and guide your child back home safely despite the tumultuous NY court system.
Common Juvenile Crimes
The most common juvenile delinquency cases include:
- Underage drinking
- Ungovernable character
- Violation of curfew
Juvenile Crime Laws
Under NY laws, the Department’s Family Court Division deals with cases involving juveniles. According to the law anyone under the age of 16 years and above 7 years is defined as a juvenile and they are not considered to be criminally responsible for their crimes.
It is also important to understand that you cannot be charged for your juvenile’s action which is one concern that has made parents even shy away from offering moral support for their kids. The punishment given depends on the crime but the most severe is holding the accused juvenile delinquent in a youth facility until they get to the age of 18 years or 21.
Juvenile Criminal Cases
However, there are situations where the prosecution can change this definition especially in case of juvenile violent crimes. In such a case these minors are charged as adults under the NY penal laws due to the seriousness of the crime.
Sixteen and seventeen year olds are automatically charged as adults in serious criminal cases which means they will have to go through the court system. The penalty handed in this case is commensurate with the crime despite the age.
Juvenile Crime Process
Once the arresting officer has notified you the child can either be taken into custody or released with a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) requiring a parent or guardian to accompany them to juvenile court for the initial appearance. This is when the judge will determine whether to release the child to the parents or detain them at a juvenile detention center.
The next steps entail:
Fact Finding Dispositions
After arraignment, a fact finding date is set. In the meantime an attorney from the Law Office of Stephan Jacob Siegel, Esq. will be working round-the-clock to investigate, find exculpatory evidence that will help fight the charges against the child.
If there is no resolution at the initial fact finding disposition phase then another is set where the family court judge delivers judgment upon hearing witness statement. No jury is involved at a family court and the judge delivers a sentence after a day in court for all parties.
Sentencing options include:
- Placement with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) which is considered the stiffest penalty.
- Adjournment where the evidence is weak and a dismissal is being contemplated by the court (Contemplation of dismissal)
- Conditional discharge which is the most common in NY.
How to Seal a Juvenile Record
We understand that a criminal record can tarnish your kid’s education, career, and even housing needs in the future and our attorneys will use the New York Criminal Procedure Law to seal this record legally.
This applies if a child is not a repeat offender or the crime was not disqualifying felony offense. Our attorney will file a motion with the court that handled your child’s case to initiate the process.
Contact us today for more information!