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Raise the Age – New York Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility

Recently, the New York State Legislature and the Governor included provisions in its annual budget that increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old, commonly known as “Raise the Age” law, parts of which took effect in either 2018 or 2019 with its total implementation in 2020.

If you or someone you know is a minor and facing charges in Family Court or Criminal Court contact us today!

Previously, New York State was one of two states which automatically prosecuted 16 and 17-year olds as adults. The intention of the revision to the law is to allow young people the opportunity to rehabilitate and reintegrate themselves into society instead of being placed into the criminal justice system, which can have permanent implications affecting a person’s life including their chances of finding housing or even employment. If you or a person you know may be affected through the Raise the Age law, call our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys now.

Young people who are charged with committing misdemeanors that fall under the Vehicle and Traffic Law such as Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Vehicle or DWI will still be treated as adults and have their cases handled in criminal court under the changes that were made. However, young people who are charged with committing nonviolent felonies will now receive a designation of adolescent offender, a new category, with their cases heard in the Youth Part of the applicable Supreme or County Court. Young people who are charged with committing nonviolent misdemeanors will now receive a designation of juvenile delinquent with their cases heard in the local Family Court. Adolescent offenders whose cases begin in the Youth Part of Supreme or County Court but are removed to Family Court will be treated as juvenile delinquents. If the adolescent offender is charged with both a felony under the Vehicle and Traffic Law or Penal Law and a misdemeanor in the Vehicle and Traffic Law, all the charges may be heard in the Youth Part.

In addition, if an adolescent offender or juvenile delinquent is charged, the police must notify the parents and legal guardians of the arrested adolescent offender or juvenile delinquent of the arrest. Adolescent offenders and juvenile delinquents now cannot be held in custody with adults either at the police station or the local jail. Instead, adolescent offenders and juvenile delinquents are kept in a certain juvenile detention facility.

While young people who are charged with committing nonviolent offenses will be treated differently from adults in the regular criminal justice system, a young person who is charged with committing nonviolent offenses is in a serious situation that could lead to serious implications that could follow them throughout their life. Being charged as a young person with any offense has the potential to disrupt the young person’s housing, schooling, and employment situations.

Our team of experienced criminal and family court attorneys may be able to work with the court and the prosecutor to obtain a favorable disposition of the charges for the young person being charged or may be able to successfully fight the allegations in whatever Court it is brought to. If you or a person you know is currently involved in a situation that is affected by the new Raise the Age law, call our experienced team of New York criminal attorneys now to discuss what options you have currently.

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