When an adolescent is being charged with a crime, the case needs to be handled differently from that of an adult’s. Whatever charge your child is being faced with can significantly impact their future.
Although the primary focus of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation, prosecutors can be very aggressive in their quest to convict the minor.
When a minor is charged with a crime, we meet with the family to discuss possible consequences and the potential for positive outcomes. For many crimes, especially first time drug offenders, we can negotiate probation or alternative punishments, such as treatment programs.
The Law Office of Brian A. Picarello understands the juvenile law system, and can handle your child’s case with care. We keep parents informed about progress in the case, and make every effort to ensure that the client’s well-being is not endangered by a youthful mistake. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Juvenile Offenses We Defend Against Include:
- Drug possession
- Drug dealing
- Reckless driving
- Underage drinking
- Property crimes
- Violent crimes
Similarities and Differences Between the Family Courts and Criminal Courts in New York
There are similarities and differences between the prosecution of a crime in the Family Court, and the prosecution of the same or similar crime of an adult in the Criminal Courts.
Prosecutor is called the “presentment agency” instead of “The People of the State of New York”.
There is no District Attorney’s office representing the prosecution in the Family Courts.
In the City of New York the prosecutors are the Corporation Counsels Office and in the suburban counties outside the City of New York, the prosecutors are the County Attorney’s Office.
In the Family Courts, the children are released to their parent’s custody. There is no bail statute affecting release in the family court.
The trial in a criminal prosecution in the Family Court is referred to as a fact finding hearing.
The disposition in Family Court is a finding of “adjudication of juvenile delinquency,” unlike Criminal Court, where the individual is found “guilty.”
In the Criminal Court an individual found guilty can be sentenced to jail. In the Family Court the sentence of a child is referred to as “placement in a facility.”
Juveniles in the Family Court do not have a right to a jury trial. Adults in Criminal Court are entitled to trial by jury in both misdemeanor and felony proceedings.
Plea bargaining is a process in the Criminal Courts where an individual charged with a crime can plead guilty to a lesser crime for the purpose of receiving a no jail commitment or a sentencing commitment from a judge that is much more lenient than if he or she had been found guilty of the original crime.
In the Family Court, instead of plea bargaining, the juvenile makes an admission to a lesser charge, however there is no commitment by the court with regard to sentencing. This is because in Family Court, the judge must take into the consideration “the best interests of the child” and the “protection of the community” when dealing with sentencing issues.
Convictions In The Family Court
If a juvenile is convicted in Family Court after the fact finding hearing there is a second hearing called the dispositional hearing.
During the disposition hearing the attorney for the child can present to the court a plan to deal with the issues raised in the case. These plans can deal with sentencing alternatives involving placement in schools, community based programs, drug treatment counseling and other types of alternative sentencing programs.
The judge at a dispositional hearing will render a decision as to whether the child requires confinement, treatment or supervision. The court can also conditionally discharge the child into the custody of his or her parents.