As a parent, it can be overwhelming and frightening when your child is accused of a crime or facing disciplinary action at school. Understanding the juvenile criminal process in New York and your child's rights and responsibilities is essential. In this guide, we will provide an overview of the juvenile criminal process and offer tips on navigating the system to ensure the best possible outcome for your child.
Know the Difference Between Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Offender
In New York, the juvenile criminal process is divided into two categories: juvenile delinquency and juvenile offender. Juvenile delinquency applies to minors aged 7 to 17 who commit an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult. Young offenders are those aged 13 to 15 who commit serious crimes, such as murder or armed robbery. These cases are handled in adult criminal court rather than family court. It is essential to understand which category your child falls into, as this will determine the legal process and potential consequences they face. For more information on the differences between juvenile delinquency and juvenile offender, visit the New York State Unified Court System website.
Understand the Family Court Process for Juvenile Delinquency Cases
Juvenile delinquency cases are handled in family court, focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment. The process begins with an intake probation officer determining whether the case should be referred to family court or resolved through an adjustment process. If the case goes to court, a fact-finding hearing is held to determine whether the child is guilty of the alleged crime. If found guilty, a dispositional hearing will be held to determine the appropriate consequences, ranging from probation to placement in a residential facility. For a more detailed overview of the family court process, visit the New York State Unified Court System website.
Be Prepared for School Disciplinary Proceedings
In addition to the legal consequences, your child may face disciplinary action at school if accused of a crime. It is essential to understand your child's rights and responsibilities during school disciplinary proceedings and the potential consequences they may face. Some tips for navigating school disciplinary proceedings include:
- Review your child's school's code of conduct and disciplinary policies.
- Ensure your child knows their rights during disciplinary proceedings, such as the right to present evidence and question witnesses.
- Consider hiring an attorney with experience in juvenile crimes and school discipline to represent your child during the proceedings.
Seek Legal Representation
Whether your child is facing a juvenile delinquency case in family court or a juvenile offender case in adult criminal court, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney representing their interests. An attorney with expertise in juvenile crimes and school discipline can help navigate the complex legal process, protect your child's rights, and advocate for the best possible outcome. At Lerner & Lerner, P.C., we have extensive experience representing clients in juvenile criminal cases and school disciplinary proceedings. We are committed to providing compassionate and effective legal representation to needy families.
Stay Involved and Supportive
Finally, parents must stay involved and supportive throughout the juvenile criminal process and school disciplinary proceedings. Keep open lines of communication with your child, their attorney, and school officials, and ensure your child understands the importance of taking responsibility for their actions and working towards rehabilitation.
By understanding the juvenile criminal process in New York and taking proactive steps to protect your child's rights and interests, parents can help ensure the best possible outcome for their child.
Contact Lerner & Lerner, P.C. today to schedule a FREE consultation!