Children can be rowdy, loud and make rash decisions. They are still learning maturity and responsibly and other traits that will hopefully help them become productive citizens. However, while they are learning, they are bound to make some mistakes. In some situations, juvenile offenses can result from these mistakes. Under New York law, certain mistakes are taken so seriously, that even children will be held to an adult standard.
Under New York law, there are some crimes that allow a court to charge children age 16-years-old and older as an adult. Unlike juvenile offenses, adult offenses will not be erased from their permanent record and can result in much stricter punishments in adult facilities. In 2013, more than 33,000 young New Yorkers were charged as adults in state courts. New York is one of two states that allows such young people to be charged as an adult.
Recently, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has taken steps to reduce this number. He has set up a commission of 16 people to explore juvenile justice issues. This group will then make recommendations about the system which could eliminate juveniles being charged as adults.
Until changes are made, juveniles who are facing criminal charges need to know their legal rights and options, particularly if they are charged as adults. With the right criminal defense strategy, those facing criminal charges can get the best possible outcome and avoid long-term consequences. Like adults, juveniles have constitutional rights that must not be violated at any point during the criminal proceedings. Negotiation might also be possible that allow juveniles to stay in juvenile courts or facilities, or otherwise eliminates the charges.
Source: CNY Central, “16 named to state commission on juvenile justice,” April 9, 2014