Can a juvenile be tried as an adult in New York?

As a parent, nothing is more terrifying than your child being charged with a crime. It can be even more devastating to discover that they might be prosecuted as an adult and be subject to harsher penalties depending on the severity of their criminal offense. If your child has been accused of committing a felony, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Rockland County Juvenile Crimes Attorney who can help protect your child’s future from the long-term repercussions of a criminal record. Please continue reading to learn whether a juvenile can be charged with a felony in New York. 

What’s the difference between a juvenile delinquent and a juvenile offender?

Firstly, a juvenile delinquent is a youth between the ages of 12 and 15 who commits an act that would be a crime if an adult had achieved it. The main difference between a juvenile delinquent and a juvenile offender is that all juvenile delinquency cases are heard in Family Court. A juvenile offender is a 13, 14, or 15-year-old youth who has committed a serious or violent felony. Juvenile offenders are tried as adults, meaning they will be subject to more severe penalties and be removed from Family Court to an adult criminal trial. Juvenile offenders who are convicted are subject to less severe penalties than adults. However, the prosecution treats juvenile offenders the same way they would treat an adult facing the exact charges.

Can a juvenile be charged with a felony?

In New York, children 13, 14, and 15 years old who are accused of committing a serious crime or a violent act can be tried as adults in the Youth Part of the New York Supreme Court. This means that juveniles as young as 13 years old can be waived up to adult court depending on the offense, as it is the discretion of the prosecutor’s office and the juvenile judge whether the case is heard in Family Court. Generally, criminal offenses such as murder, assault and battery, serious drug offenses, armed robbery, rape, and other serious violent crimes that would typically be considered a felony offense could constitute a juvenile being tried as an adult.

However, in some cases, the court may allow for a reverse waiver, transferring a juvenile’s adult criminal case back to the Family Court. If the court provides a reverse waiver, the juvenile may be granted youthful offender status. This means they can avoid the long-lasting consequences of a permanent criminal record. Essentially, the criminal conviction would be replaced by the youthful offender status.

If your child is facing criminal charges, seeking quality legal representation from the legal team at The Law Office of Carl Spector is crucial. Our firm is prepared to help you fight to keep your child’s case from being tried in an adult court.