My child has been accused of committing a crime. What should I do?
As a parent, it can be terribly distressing to know that your child has been charged with a crime and you need a compassionate criminal lawyer to help you through this difficult process. Children are young and unfortunately, they sometimes make mistakes. The laws and punishments that can affect accused juveniles differ significantly from the laws used to prosecute adults and not every criminal lawyer is well versed in juvenile criminal defense.
There are many factors that will have to be analyzed to determine the best course of action for you and your child.
- In New York, the term “juvenile offender” is used if your child is 13, 14, or 15 years old. The term “youthful offender” applies if your child is 16, 17, or 18 years old at the time of the incident.
- Many crimes require a certain level of intent in order to be guilty. Lack of an ability to form intent is often a defense, but just because the child is under the age of 18 does not mean that they could not have formed the necessary intent.
- If the juvenile is closer to being the age of majority, it is more likely that they could have formed the necessary intent to commit a crime. Children 7 and under are not usually tried in court but their parents may be held liable for their actions. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, children between 12 and 18ave been tried as adults. It is also more likely that the child could be tried in regular court instead of juvenile court the closer they are to the age of 18.
- In juvenile criminal cases, the police, prosecutors, and judges have more discretion to decide whether or not charges will be filed and how punishment will be handed down. Young people make mistakes and depending on the circumstances, the judge has discretion to craft a punishment they deem necessary to punish and educate the child while deterring future criminal conduct. This may include paying restitution, community service, curfews and other solutions.
- Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, if you child commits a crime you may also be sued in civil court for the damages caused by your child. George Vomvolakis also handles civil matters and he can work with you on both the civil and criminal aspects of your child’s case.
Juvenile cases are very stressful for parents and the accused juvenile offender. If you’re searching for an attorney to represent your child in a criminal matter, it will pay dividends to hire a criminal defense attorney who has experience in juvenile law as both a defense attorney and a former prosecutor.
How are juvenile cases prosecuted in New York?
Being accused of a crime at a young age can be very traumatic. Families who have a child accused of a crime in the state of New York should hire a New York criminal lawyer to protect the family’s reputation and the future wellbeing of their child.
Let’s face it, teenagers and children make mistakes. Some mistakes are rather harmless and others are not. Typically we see criminal acts by minors that are not, in and of themselves, particularly serious. However, many small mistakes can lead to life altering consequences for your child and it will be in their best interest for the parent to take a proactive role in working with the police, the prosecutor and the defense attorney. Some of the more common crimes that minors are involved in include:
- Minor in possession of alcohol, marijuana or other controlled substances
- Criminal mischief
- Possession of weapons (often on school grounds)
- Sex crimes such as statutory rape or a sexual assault on a younger child
After the initial arrest of the child, there are several steps in the juvenile justice process. Every case is different, but an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to guide you through this process smoothly.
- If a juvenile has been arrested of a crime the police or a judge may determine that the child can be released to their parents.
- If the police release the child to their parents, the release will be accompanied by an appearance ticket that requires the parent(s) and the child to appear at the arraignment (initial appearance) on the case.
- The court will schedule a future hearing date to allow defense counsel time to collect evidence and facts. After the collection of evidence by both sides, your defense attorney will negotiate with the prosecution to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
- If no mutual agreement can be reached, the juvenile judge will render a decision. Unless the crime was so serious that your child’s case is turned over to the regular court system to be tried as an adult, there are no juries. The juvenile judge will review the case and make a final, dispositive ruling.
This process will be highly stressful for both you and your child. Fortunately, the Law Office of George Vomvolakis has a wealth of knowledge and experience from the perspective of a prosecutor and a private criminal defense attorney. We know how to handle these cases effectively and efficiently and will do everything we can to make the juvenile justice process go smoothly for you.
Can any criminal defense attorney handle a juvenile delinquency case?
Yes, in theory any competent criminal attorney should be able to handle a juvenile criminal case. From a practical standpoint, you don’t want just any lawyer representing you. George Vomvolakis is a criminal attorney who has a proven track record of defending innocent minors who have been accused of criminal activity. One of the reasons Mr. Vomvolakis is so effective is that he used to be on the other side of the courtroom, as a New York state prosecutor. He knows the strategies prosecutors use when they are building their cases, and he will make every effort to use this knowledge and experience to your advantage.
A criminal conviction can haunt your child’s future for the rest of their life. Whether they are trying to find employment, applying to college or trying to receive state and federal student aid or other benefits a criminal conviction will greatly complicate things. Don’t trust your child’s future to just any attorney. Call George Vomvolakis today for a free case consultation!