Have you or a loved one under the age of 18 been charged with a crime?
Being charged with a crime—any crime—as a minor can have serious and far-reaching repercussions. Young people have a hard enough time starting out in the adult world without a juvenile record haunting them at every turn. It’s vitally important to the accused’s future that you seek help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as the child is charged with a crime.
The juvenile court system follows different procedures than those used for adult offenders in a typical criminal case. Because a young and presumably impressionable suspect’s future is at stake, police and court officials have broad discretion to tailor the outcome of any case to correct the offense.
The ultimate goal of the juvenile court system is to deter future criminal activity.Without the right defense, this ideal may not be possible. Mere accusation or an arrest for a crime doesn’t make someone a criminal, but a poorly handled defense can set the stage for continued run-ins with the law.
A juvenile crime conviction can have destructive effects on young people and their families. A loss of freedom during important formative years can severely hamper social development, result in institutionalization, and more. In some cases, a juvenile court conviction can become a youth’s turning point from adolescent angst and frustrations into a life of criminal behavior.
Crimes Tried in NY Juvenile Courts
The New York juvenile court system handles cases involving minors accused of misdemeanor and felony crimes, such as:
Truancy (skipping school)
Drug or alcohol violations
Depending on the age of the accused and the circumstances of the crime, minors accused of homicide and certain other violent crimes may be tried in the regular court system. A high percentage of juveniles tried as adultsare convicted. However, statistics show that such minors who retain representation by an experienced private attorney are far less likely to be convicted, and more likely to be sent back to the juvenile court system.
Distinctions Between Juvenile and Criminal Courts
The purpose of juvenile court is to determine whether the accused minor is a “juvenile delinquent.” Based on this judgment, the court then decides what reformation would best serve the interest of ensuring the accused can re-enter society as a non-threatening and productive individual.
There are a number of differences in the handling of juvenile cases as opposed to criminal court proceedings. Juvenile courts conduct hearings and order dispositions, rather than holding a trial and a sentencing.
Consequences of a Juvenile Crime Conviction
In addition to possibly interrupting your family unit with juvenile detention, consequences of a juvenile court conviction may include:
Expulsion from school
Mandatory counseling for the juvenile, and in some cases the family
Mandatory enrollment in specialized schools
Additionally, after a juvenile conviction for certain crimes, victims may be able to take legal action against the parents for damages in a civil court case.
Best Interests of the Accused
Don’t let the differences in tone and terminology lull you into thinking a minor accused of crime won’t need a focused, aggressive defense. Attorney James Medows knows New York’s juvenile court system and has experience navigating the murky waters of juvenile defense. James can help your family by advocating for the accused minor’s best present and future interests.
The consequences of a juvenile court conviction can be harsh, and canpotentially acclimatize a young adult to a life of criminal behavior. By working with an experienced defense lawyer, you can greatly influence the outcome of your case. Attorney James Medows has the knowledge and compassion to fight for what is best for you, and your family.
James understands. Teens and young adults can make bad decisions—or be falsely accused. Neither makes someone a bad kid, or a potentially bad future adult.
The Law Offices of James Medows is dedicated to helping children, teens and young adults—and their families—navigate the juvenile court system. If you or a loved one is accused of a juvenile crime, you need an assertive, intelligent defense to ensure the juvenile doesn’t face undeserved, excessively harsh punishments. You need someone who will truly advocate for what will best serve the young person’s future in our society.
Creative approaches to helping a juvenile accused of crime are limited only by his or her lawyer’s capabilities. If you or your loved one is mired in the juvenile court system, James Medows can help by tailoring a comprehensive defense, unique to the individual circumstances surrounding your case.