New York Adolescent Offender Laws
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On October 1, 2019, minors who are 16 and 17 years of age will no longer be prosecuted as adults. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law on April 10, 2017, which raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years old.
The law is implemented in the following two stages:
- The presumptive age for juvenile accountability is raised to 16 – Effective October 1, 2018
- The presumptive age for juvenile accountability is raised to 17 – Effective October 1, 2019
This “Raise the Age” law ensures juvenile offenders who commit misdemeanors and non-violent felony crimes avoid being punished as adults in the criminal justice system, rather than the juvenile justice system. At Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP, we are committed to helping children and their families avoid adult court and obtain the best possible outcome in their case.
What Happens If My Child is Charged with a Crime?
A new category called “Adolescent Offender (AO)” was created from the recent law. AOs are minors who are 16 or 17 years of age and accused of felony offenses.
AOs will hear their cases in the Youth Part of Criminal Court. If the court decides to hold these individuals in custody before their case is heard at trial, they will be held in “specialized secure juvenile detention facilities for older youth,” instead of jail with adult criminals. These facilities are certified by the State Office of Children and Family Services.
While all misdemeanor cases are heard in family court, violations will continue to be heard in adult criminal courts. If a felony offense doesn’t involve the use of a deadly weapon, an element of a sex crime, or significant physical injury to the plaintiff, the case will be heard in family court.
The following are the age-appropriate services available to AOs in New York:
- Therapeutic programs (education programs, vocational training, job opportunities)
- Substance abuse treatment
- Discharge planning services (housing assistance, family integration, mental health and medical care)
- Record sealing (if they are crime free for 10 years)
Ready to Protect Your Child’s Rights & Future
If your child has been accused of a criminal offense in New York, our Westchester County juvenile defense attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of the legal process. With more than 65 years of collective experience, we have successfully represented our clients by providing them with effective and personalized legal solutions.
Contact us and schedule a free consultation for more information today.