Children between the ages of 7 and 16, who have committed an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult are considered by New York State courts to be juvenile delinquents. Children under the age of 16 are considered to not yet have the competency to make decisions that would warrant the same punishment as an adult. A juvenile has the same constitutional rights as an adult does upon arrest and throughout court proceedings. A parent or guardian is responsible for providing legal guidance by hiring an attorney. If the parent or guardian of the child cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent the child. However, a juvenile must also be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during police questioning and interviews with a probation officer.
The trial proceedings in a juvenile case differ from those of an adult criminal trial. These trials are called “fact-finding hearings,” which is similar to a criminal trial except a jury is not present to hear the case and determine a verdict. Throughout these hearings, witnesses may be presented and evidence provided. If it is found the child committed some or all of the acts in the petition beyond a reasonable doubt, the hearing will be followed by a dispositional hearing at which a judge will decide whether the child is in need of supervision, treatment, or confinement.
A child who is between the ages of 13 and 15 may be tried as an adult for more serious or violent crimes.
The Suffolk County Law Office of Larry McCord and Associates has extensive experience handling a wide range of criminal matters, including juvenile delinquency, providing competent and compassionate representation. These cases require a great deal of care and the attorneys at our firm carefully consider each client and their best interests to help them avoid further issues with police and the courts.
If you have been charged with a crime, call the Law Office of Larry McCord & Associates, LLC for a free consultation at (631) 643-3084.