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A look at juvenile criminal procedure in New York

Many New York residents have made mistakes in their youth that they regret. However, some underage people make mistakes that cause more than regret -- they might result in a criminal charge. Although some might see crimes involving minors as not as serious, they can prove to be major ordeals, involving many complexities.

That said, those who haven't reached the age of 18 go through a different criminal justice system than those who have reached the age of majority. They go through what is called the "juvenile justice" system. However, police officers to not necessarily have to send minor suspects to juvenile court. In some cases, a minor may be detained and warned about the consequences. In other cases, a minor may be detained until the parents arrive.

And then there are situations where police take a minor into custody and refer them to a juvenile court officer. A juvenile court officer then makes a number of key decisions. They may decide to dismiss the matter, meaning there will be no court proceeding. They may decide to handle the case "off the recorded," so to speak. And, in the worst case scenario, a juvenile court officer or prosecutor may decide to file formal charges for the juvenile crime.

Juvenile offences can be serious matters. They can affect a wide range of things in the minor's life -- as well as the parent's. However, it is often possible to fight for the most fair and favorable outcome possible. Avoiding the destruction of a minor's chances of scholarships and good jobs is often of a high priority for them and their parents. Criminal defense attorneys can meet with the accused and talk through their options.

Source: FindLaw, "Minor Crime Is a Major Ordeal," Accessed on April 4, 2017

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