Juvenile Lawyer

Juvenile Lawyer

New York prosecutes children differently than adults.

If your child has been accused of a crime in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx or Staten Island, you need a juvenile crime lawyer to explain the complexities of the juvenile justice system to you.

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Children Accused of Serious Crimes

I’m a juvenile crime lawyer in New York City with more than 20 years of experience handling these complicated cases. I understand the raw emotions families face when fearing the worst after their child is accused of serious criminal charges, such as:

  • Drunk driving
  • Drug offenses
  • Shoplifting and theft
  • Sex crimes
  • Assault
  • Weapons offenses
  • Vandalism

Fear of the unknown creates so much anxiety. Contact my New York defense firm to learn how I can help address your fears about the legal system.

Two Court Systems

Juveniles are prosecuted in two courts: Criminal Court and Family Court.

The proceedings in Criminal Court and Family Court differ in many ways. For example, Family Court proceedings do not involve plea bargaining to the same extent as criminal courts. For this reason, Family Court proceedings are more likely to go to trial than Criminal Court proceedings.

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Family Court trials are decided by individual judges. Criminal Court trials are usually decided by juries. At the initial Family Court appearance, the child will be either released or detained. Unlike Criminal Court, Family Court does not release children on bail. When juveniles are detained in Family Court, trials typically occur more quickly than they do in Criminal Court.

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Taking the Mystery out of Family Court Prosecutions

If your child is prosecuted and the matter is resolved in Family Court, the proceedings can’t result in a criminal conviction. However, even if the charges do not result in a criminal conviction, your child can experience severe consequences. Under the law, a child is considered a juvenile delinquent in Family Court if:

  • The child is at least 7 years old and less than 16 years old at the time of the incident
  • The child committed an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult
  • The child is not criminally responsible for such conduct due to the child’s age, or the child is the defendant in a case that has been moved from Criminal Court to Family Court

Family Court can impose a range of dispositions, similar to the sentencing options available in criminal courts. Family Court dispositions can include conditional discharge, probation, placement and restrictive placement.

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Helping Juveniles Navigate Criminal Proceedings

If your child’s case is resolved in Criminal Court, the proceedings may or may not result in a criminal conviction. A juvenile convicted of a felony offense in Criminal Court where a youthful offender adjudication has not been entered will have a lifetime criminal record. A child is prosecuted in criminal court if the youth:

  • Allegedly committed a crime when he or she was at least 16 years old and less than 19
  • Allegedly committed certain very serious crimes between ages 13 and 15

Every youth convicted of a crime has the possibility of being adjudicated a youthful offender, unless:

  • Convicted of a class A felony (murder in the second degree, kidnapping in the first degree, etc.)
  • Previously sentenced as a felon
  • Previously adjudicated a youthful offender following a felony conviction
  • Previously adjudicated a juvenile delinquent in connection with certain very serious felonies

Though youthful offender adjudications are not criminal convictions, criminal courts can sentence youthful offenders to as much as four years in prison.

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