There is a significant change on the horizon in New York. Starting in 2019,
criminal courts will no longer automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year
olds as adults. The age limit for adult prosecution will increase to 18,
with the final counties recognizing the change in October 2019. Why is
this change happening and why is it so important?
Juveniles Tried as Adults Suffer Unfair Consequences
Currently, New York criminal law requires anyone ages 16-years or older
to be automatically prosecuted as an adult when charged with a crime.
This rule means only adolescents under the age of 16 can be charged with a
juvenile crime. The only other state in the country with such a low minimum age for adult
prosecution is North Carolina.
Studies of the criminal justice system, societal influences, public safety,
and even human psychology have all consistently shown the adult prosecution
of adolescents is ineffective and unreasonable. The adult criminal justice
system utilizes harsh penalties like steep fines and lengthy jail time.
Even a single conviction will stunt an adolescent’s development
for years and years, making it nearly impossible for them to continue
education, find gainful employment, be approved when applying for tenancy,
and live a normal life.
However, the juvenile criminal justice system focuses on rehabilitation
and behavioral adjustments, not just severe penalties from wrongdoing.
Adolescents who are prosecuted as such have a much better chance of learning
from their mistakes and moving past them than those treated as adults
in court. The 2019 change to New York law is therefore quite significant
in that thousands of adolescents each year will face a far fairer criminal
justice system after being arrested or charged with a crime.
It is important to note that juveniles can still be tried as adults under
certain circumstances. When a juvenile is charged with a particularly
severe crime, such as
homicide, or if they have an extensive conviction record, a judge has the authority
to try them as an adult.
For more information about the adult prosecution age increase in New York, you can
click here to visit
Raise the Age | NY
website. If your child has been charged with a serious crime,
contact the Westchester criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Robert
Schuster. Whether your child is being prosecuted as an adult or a juvenile,
the law firm has the extensive experience and insight needed to protect
their rights and future.
complimentary over-the-phone case evaluation by dialing 914-241-0004 today.