In Arthur L. Pressman Law Blog, Juvenile Crimes

New York State Juvenile Law

Understanding New York State juvenile law is important if you are a minor or the parent of a minor who has been charged with a felony or misdemeanor. Here is some important background information on justice system reforms and youthful offender penalties that the state government has revamped over the last decade.

New York State Juvenile Law

Reforms in New York State have taken significant steps to shifting the focus of the criminal justice system to the rehabilitation rather than the punishment of juveniles convicted of crimes. The focus now is on measures to change behavior, and to set minors on a path to becoming independent, law-abiding, civic-minded adult members of society. There is decreasing faith in the idea that imprisonment and other harsh penalties contribute toward these goals – and there is mounting evidence that such punitive measures hurt more than they help, pushing children deeper into criminal cultures and antisocial attitudes.

This doesn’t mean that juveniles are exempt from life-changing punishments. If you are under the age of 16 and convicted of a serious crime, a judge might still sentence you to a juvenile detention center for up to nine years – more than half your current age. If yours was a violent crime, a prosecutor might request for you to be tried as an adult.

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New York State Juvenile Law

If you are a juvenile facing criminal charges, the outcome of your case will determine the course of your life. If you are innocent, you will need an excellent trial lawyer to dismantle the prosecution’s case and demonstrate “reasonable doubt” about your guilt. If you did commit the crime in question, you will need an attorney who can present your case in the best possible light. That attorney can advise you as to what steps you should take: voluntarily submitting to drug or behavior rehabilitation and presenting character references or other evidence of your potential to contribute positively to society could go a long way.

New York State Juvenile Law

The New York State Penal Code contains a potential allowance for youthful indiscretion. If you’re under the age of 19 and charged with a criminal offense, you may be eligible for “youthful offender status.” This doesn’t mean that you won’t face penalties. A conviction could still mean fines, other restrictions, and even a sentence to a juvenile detention center. However, your conviction wouldn’t leave a criminal record. If you take your crime and conviction as a learning experience, get your life on track, and avoid any further criminal activity, your future success, happiness, and financial security won’t be in jeopardy.

If you need more information on New York State juvenile law, please contact our experienced Buffalo criminal defense attorneys today to arrange a free consultation.

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