Juvenile Delinquency in Valley Stream, NY

 
Juvenile Delinquency (D Petitions) Designated Felonies (E Petitions)

These two (2) types of petitions are both basically the same. They are alleging that your child has committed a criminal act. Simon & Milner understands how stressful a time period this may be for you. Very often such allegations catch parents completely by surprise and they just don't know what to do or where to turn. Contact an experienced attorney at Simon & Milner who will help guide you and your child through this very stressful time in both of your lives.

The only difference between D & E petitions is that a Juvenile Delinquency (D Petition) alleges that a child under the age of 16 has committed an act which if that same act was committed by an adult would be considered a crime. A Designated Felony (E Petition) is the same allegation but it applies to certain violent felonies and repeat offenders. The major difference is that the level of punishment under a designated felony petition is greater.

Juvenile delinquency proceedings are similar to criminal proceedings but are not the same. Unlike criminal proceedings, the goal is not to punish the offender but rather to treat the child and attempt to “set him on the right path.” However, if the child is deemed to be a danger to the community, the child could be placed into some type of incarceration or other secure facility.

Juvenile Delinquency proceedings begin either by the filing of a petition against your child alleging that he is a juvenile delinquent, the issuance of a Family Court Appearance Ticket to your child for alleged acts that would be considered a crime if they were an adult, or the arrest of your child for alleged acts that would be considered a crime if they were an adult.
Who can be charged as a juvenile delinquent?

Any child over the age of 7 and under the age of 16 who is alleged to have committed an act that if committed by an adult would be considered a crime (misdemeanor or felony). Children under the age of 7 are presumed to not be responsible for their actions and children over the age of 16 are considered adults under the New York State Criminal Procedure Law.

Can the Police Arrest my Child Without Informing me?
If the Police believe your child has committed a criminal offense the Police may detain your child and bring him or her to the Police station. However, the Police are required to make a good faith attempt to contact you before attempting to speak with your child. With few exceptions, any statement that your child makes to the Police without first being permitted to speak to his parent/guardian will be ruled inadmissible at a juvenile delinquency proceeding.

Are they going to make my child take mug shots and get fingerprinted?

This depends on the nature of the offense and the age of your child. If your child is 13 years of age or older at the time he is arrested and the offense with which he was charged would be a felony if he were an adult, your child will be fingerprinted and photographed. In addition, if your child is 11 years of age or older and charged with what would constitute an A or B felony (the most serious criminal charges possible) for an adult they will be finger printed and photographed. In almost all other situations, your child will be exempt from being photographed and fingerprinted at the time of arrest.

What is going to happen to my child between the time they are arrested and the conclusion of the case?

Usually, the child will be “released to the custody of his parents” along with a variety of restrictions (such as a curfew) which the parent must abide by. This means that as the parent you will be responsible for ensuring that your child obeys any orders of the Court. However, if the Court believes there is a substantial probability that your child will not appear in court if released or that there is a serious risk your child will commit another act which would be considered a crime if committed by an adult and that there are no reasonable efforts that can be taken to avoid removal of the child from your home, the child may be detained pending the outcome of the juvenile delinquency petition.

However, it is important to keep in mind that unlike criminal court, children in juvenile delinquency proceedings have no right to bail.

How long will a case like this take?

There are very strict time limits that apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings. Once your child has been arrested or a petition has been filed against him the child must be arraigned by the next court day if he is custody and within ten (10) days if the child is not in custody.

Once the child has been arraigned, the trial must begin within sixty (60) days. If your child is in custody, the trial must begin within three (3) days except in cases of serious felonies in which case the trial must begin within fourteen (14) days.
If your child is adjudicated to be a juvenile delinquent, the dispositional hearing (to determine what action the court will take) must be held within fifty (50) days, unless the child is in custody, in which case the hearing must take place within ten (10) days.

What is going to happen at the first court appearance?

The first court appearance is very similar to an arraignment in criminal court. Your child is advised of the charges against him and is asked to either admit or deny the charges against him. The Court will also decide if your child should be released to your custody or detained pending the outcome of the proceeding.

What will happen after the initial court appearance?

After the initial court appearance the procedure is very similar to criminal court. (For more information on criminal law please click here). Your child's attorney will have an opportunity to review the charges and evidence to be presented against your child. Your child's attorney will have an opportunity to challenge various evidence and ask that it be suppressed due to various violations of your child's rights.

Usually your child's attorney will attempt to negotiate a resolution (also known as a plea bargain) with the County Attorney (or other attorney representing the agency prosecuting your child). If plea negotiations are unsuccessful the matter will proceed to a fact-finding hearing (trial). Just as in criminal court the burden is on the state to prove that your child committed the acts with which he is charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is important that you have an experienced family law attorney who also has knowledge of criminal law to assist your child in their time of need. Significant rights are at stake and you need to make sure your child is adequately protected!

What happens if my child is found to have committed one or more of the acts they are charged with?

This is the equivalent of a finding of guilty in the Criminal Court. Your child has been found guilty of some sort of act that would be considered a crime if they were an adult and the Court must now determine how it will deal with your child. The court makes this determination at a dispositional hearing. The hearing must be held within ten (10) days if your child is detained and within fifty (50) days if your child is not detained.

Unlike criminal court, prior to imposing a sentence the Court will hold a full hearing to determine what actions, if any should be taken against your child.

The court must find that your child “requires treatment, supervision or confinement.” If the Court is unable to make this finding, the Petition against your child will be dismissed even if they have been found to have committed the acts as alleged in the petition.

It is important that you have an experienced family law attorney to fight for an appropriate outcome for your child.

Factors which the Court will take into account on behalf of your child include:

• Evidence that the criminal act was an isolated incident.
• Evidence that your child has shown remorse.
• Evidence that you as the parent have instituted new controls to better supervise your child.
• Evidence that the parent has the capability to supervise the child.
• Evidence that the child will be amenable to parental supervision.
What are the possible outcomes of a dispositional hearing?

Dismissal of the Petition
• This will occur if after the dispositional hearing the Court determines that the child does not “require treatment, supervision or confinement.”

• This is the only disposition which will not result in your child being labeled a “juvenile delinquent.”

Conditional Discharge

• The court will discharge your child subject to certain conditions (i.e. regular attendance at school, pass random drug tests, do not get re-arrested, etc…).

• The conditional discharge can last for up to 1 year.

• If your child violates the terms of the conditional discharge he can be brought back to Court for additional consequences.

Probation

In addition to setting various conditions which your child must adhere to, the Court will also assign your child a probation officer for a period of up to two (2) years.

• The probation officer will require your child to come to their office for regular visits and may also make surprise home and school visits to ensure your child is complying with the orders of the court.

• Should your child violate the terms of probation he can be returned to Family Court to face additional consequences.
Placement outside of the home

• For more serious offenses or where the court believes that the community needs to be protected from your child, the Court may place the child in a facility outside of your home.

• Depending on the nature and severity of the offense your child could be placed in a non-secure group setting, a secure detention center, or something in between.

• The placement outside of your home can be for up to 12 months if your child was found guilty of a charge that would ordinarily be a misdemeanor and up to 18 months for a charge that would ordinarily be a felony. However, the Court has the right to extend this placement for additional one year periods as the Court deems necessary up until your child turns 18.

The attorneys of Simon & Milner in Valley Stream, New York are here if you have questions about juvenile delinquency. Call (516) 561-6622 or (800) 807-5616.