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Processing Juvenile Cases

The terminology in the processing of juvenile cases in the State of New York is different depending on whether the youth is charged as a juvenile offender or as a juvenile delinquent. The term Youthful Offender is defined below.*
  Juvenile Delinquents Juvenile Offenders
Definition A "Juvenile Delinquent" is a person at least seven and less than 16 years of age who commits an act which would be a crime if he or she were an adult, and is also found to be in need of supervision, treatment or confinement. A "Juvenile Offender" is a youth 13 to 15 years of age who is charged and tried as an adult for committing one or more of 18 specific crimes.
Where is the case decided? Family Court Supreme Court
Police contact Taken into custody Arrested
First court appearance Initial appearance Arraignment in Criminal Court
Prosecution Assistant Corporation Counsel; Assistant District Attorney in some cases Assistant District Attorney
Custody Options - Remand to Department of Juvenile Justice - either to secure or non-secure detention
- Release
- Bail
- Released on own Recognizance
- Remand to secure detention
Legal Representation Law Guardian

- Legal Aid Attorney - Juvenile Rights Division
- Court appointed 18B Attorney
- Private

Defense Counsel

- Legal Aid Attorney - Criminal Defense Division
- Court appointed 18B Attorney
- Privately Retained Attorney

How is the Case Decided? Fact Finding Hearing Plea/Trial
Judicial Options

Dispositional Hearing

- Probation
- Placement with NYS Office of Childen and Family Services (OCFS)
- Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD)
- Conditional Discharge

Sentencing, if convicted

- Probation
- Confinement in an OCFS secure facility

Youthful Offender (The Juvenile Offender Handbook by Eric Warner) The court may find that an eligible youth is a Youthful Offender if in the opinion of the court the interest of justice would be served by relieving the eligible youth from the onus of a criminal record and by not imposing an indeterminate term of imprisonment of more than four years. Youthful Offender means that the defendant was a) convicted of a crime when the defendant was at least 16 and less than 19 years of age; b) eligible to have the conviction replaced with a non-criminal (youthful offender) adjudication because of the nature of the crime and the youth's prior record; and c) adjudicated a youthful offender through the discretion of a supreme court judge who believed that such adjudication was in the interests of justice.

Are the terms juvenile offender and youthful offender synonymous? No, "Juvenile Offender" (J.O.) means a youth 13,14 or 15 years of age who committed an offense specified in Penal Law 30.00(2). "Youthful Offender" (Y.O.) means a juvenile offender OR a youth who is at least 16 and less than 19 when the crime was committed, whose conviction was set aside by a judge and replaced with non-criminal adjudication. Thus, a 16 year is not a juvenile offender by definition but may be eligible for youthful offender status.

Related Links
NYC Family Court
NYS Office of Children and Family Services
Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention
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