When a child in New York who is between 7 and 16 years of age is accused of a crime, in most circumstances their case will be handled by the Family Court through a fact-finding hearing” rather than through a criminal trial. In this type of hearing
In some cases, prior to the fact-finding hearing, the court determines that the juvenile should be detained. In this situation, a different type of hearing called a probable cause” hearing will take place to decide whether it is necessary to remand the juvenile.”
In a fact-finding hearing, it is up to an entity called the presentment agency to prove the juvenile committed the crime. They may do so by presenting evidence and calling witnesses to the case. The standard of proof in this type of hearing is beyond a reasonable doubt
After the presentment agency and respondent’s attorney have presented their cases, the judge presiding over the case will issue a finding” as to whether the juvenile committed the crime. If the juvenile is found innocent
Juvenile law matters can have long-term consequences for the child involved. Children do not have the same mental capacity as adults when it comes to decision-making. This is why it is so important that they do not face the same criminal trials and sanctions as adults. Those who are in need of more information about the juvenile criminal justice system may want to engage the help of a criminal defense attorney experienced in such matters.
Source: nycourts.gov, Juvenile Delinquency