Under New York state law, an individual is considered a juvenile from seven to 16 years of age. Should an individual of this age commit an act that is considered a crime for adults, the juvenile may be required to undergo juvenile justice proceedings.

Juvenile Justice Proceedings in New York

The family court system is responsible for overseeing juvenile cases in New York. Juvenile cases may be brought before the family court by the police or held until the court docket opens for the case to be heard. In some cases, juveniles are released to their parents or guardians with a promise to appear in family court.

When the case is in heard in family court, the juvenile may be represented by a public defender or other attorney. The state is represented by an attorney from the New York City Law Department.

Juvenile Justice Proceedings

Juvenile cases are held in family court so that the judge can listen to and consider the facts of the case. A jury is not present during the proceedings. First, based on the facts of the case, the judge determines if the juvenile was involved in an illegal act. Children may or may not be present for this portion of the proceedings. A child may be held in detention, but this requires a special hearing to determine if that is necessary.

The fact-finding hearing works much the same as what occurs in adult court. The state must prove with appropriate evidence that the juvenile did commit the crime as stated by the legal authorities. If the judge determines that the juvenile did commit the crime, a dispositional hearing is scheduled.

New York Juvenile Dispositional Hearings

The dispositional hearing is part of the New York juvenile justice proceedings when a child is found guilty of an illegal act. During the hearing, the judge decides if the juvenile needs to be confined or supervised by a probation officer. Circumstances of the case may result in the child being order to treatment, such as cases where drugs or alcohol are involved or if the judge determines that the child may need professional counseling. If the juvenile has a probation officer, evidence may be presented that results in the judge releasing the juvenile to home supervision with or without a probation officer.