Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile Delinquency

Throughout the years, Darren M. Shapiro has honed his skills in family law through a wide range of experience. Because of this, he has collected a plethora of skills and professional knowledge dealing with routine and very complex cases. In his time as a Long Island Family Law Lawyer and criminal defense attorney, Mr. Shapiro has found that there are many subtle nuances and complex aspects to dealing with juvenile matters.

When a juvenile is accused of violating a criminal statute, the procedure that must be followed in the New York Family Courts is far different to what is used in dealing with adult offenders in a typical case. If a child in court is defined as a juvenile delinquent, the court will be expected to issue an order tailored not only to protect the community in question, but also to serve the best interests and needs of the delinquent, as he or she is still a child. The treatment between juvenile delinquents and adult criminal defendants is apparent in legal terms, as the best interests of the juvenile delinquent are regarded as a vital, but not the only, consideration in article 3 of the Family Court Act.

In simple terms, juvenile delinquents are children under the age of sixteen and over the age of seven that are found to be guilty of engaging in act, which if committed by an adult would be defined as a crime. The special treatment in court is given either because it is suggested that the juvenile cannot be considered completely criminally responsible as a side effect of their infancy, or because the case was removed from a criminal court and transferred to the family court. Typically, the same statutes of limitations that are applied in relation to adult criminal proceedings will be used to consider juvenile cases, except in the case of some designated felonies, which have to be commenced before the eighteenth or twenty-first birthday of the respondent, depending on the felony. Criminal procedure law cannot be regarded as applicable in cases of juvenile delinquency, except for in very specific circumstances. For example, the family court provides that double jeopardy must also be applicable within juvenile proceedings. The family court act also allows that the defenses outlined in the penal law, section 30.5 and 35 can be applied to juvenile delinquency matters.

Juvenile Delinquency Cases

There are a number of ways in which a minor may come into contact with law enforcement over the apparent violation of a criminal statute. In some cases, minors are directly arrested by the police, whereas others are referred in that direction by school officials or guardians. Regardless of the circumstances, there are varied methods that police officers may use to deal with the juvenile. For example, they may choose to detain the minor, issue a warning and then allow the minor to be released. On the other hand, they could simply hold the minor until a parent comes to collect them, or refer the minor to juvenile court.

Once the officer in question chooses to refer the case to juvenile court, an intake officer or prosecutor will then take over. That person may then choose to dismiss the case, file formal charges, or handle the matter on an informal basis. When coming to a decision, numerous factors will be taken into consideration, including the severity of the offense, the previous record of the juvenile, their age, their social history and the evidence surrounding the case.

When an alleged offender is arrested they will only be fingerprinted if they are of a certain age, and have been accused of particular felonies. The specific charges and ages for which fingerprinting can be required as necessary is outlined in Section 306 of the Family Court Act. The Family Court Act also outlines the applicable rules regarding evidence. For example, the burden of proof, similarly to when used with adults, is focused on beyond a reasonable doubt, which is seen as the highest burden within our current justice system. If the case goes to a trial and the respondent in question is discovered to have committed a juvenile delinquency act beyond a reasonable doubt, then the case will be transferred to a dispositional hearing.

The respondent may be discharged according to certain conditions, and put on probation, or placed in custody amongst a variety of other outcomes. Again, in any situation, the safety of the community and the needs of the respondent will be weighed adequately in order to come to a reasonable decision. Mr. Darren M. Shapiro is an attorney that can help to accomplish the best possible results in any given situation, working towards ideal outcomes, regardless of the complications. That is what makes him such an important asset when it comes to legal cases of any kind, especially those involving the wellbeing of minors.

If the respondent in a juvenile delinquency case was found to have committed a designated felony act, the placement of that juvenile may depend largely on information outlined in the Family Court Act Section 353.5. In other circumstances, usually the least restrictive opportunity for placement should be strongly considered by the court. Often, when a child officially becomes an adult in the eyes of the law, Juvenile Delinquency proceedings will be sealed and expunged, and these procedures are also contained as part of the Family Court Act.

For more information on how Darren M. Shapiro could help you to understand and progress with family law, please contact us. If you feel that you may benefit from leaning more about topics regarding family law, then please look around our blog and website for articles and outlines. If you simply want to discuss a case, or the possibility of a case, call us for your free consultation - it would be our pleasure to speak to you about your needs.

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