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Adolescent Offenders

Under the Raise the Age law, all 16-year-olds (effective October 1, 2018), and all 17-year-olds (effective October 1, 2019), charged with felony offenses are treated as Adolescent Offenders (AO). This means that the cases start in the Youth Part of the Supreme or County Court. Youth Part Judges are Family Court Judges. Cases can be transferred to the Family Court, where the child will be treated as a Juvenile Delinquent. Adolescent Offenders that stay in the Youth Part are treated as adults, but at sentencing, the Judge will consider the child’s age when deciding the appropriate sentence. Adolescent Offenders have access to intervention services and programs.

 

Cases Transferred to Family Court

Adolescent Offenders who are charged with non-violent felonies will be sent to the Family Court unless the District Attorney files a motion within 30 days asking the court to keep the case in the Youth Part due to “extraordinary circumstances.” If the District Attorney files a motion, the defendant has a chance to file papers opposing the motion. A hearing may be held. The Judge must decide if the case should be sent to the Family Court within 5 days of the hearing or motion.

Adolescent Offenders who are charged with violent felonies can also be sent to the Family Court unless the charges include any of the following:

  • the defendant displayed a firearm or deadly weapon
  • the defendant caused significant physical injury
  • the defendant engaged in unlawful sexual conduct

Violent felony cases involving any of the above three elements must remain in the Youth Part unless the District Attorney consents to removal to Family Court.

Violent felony cases that do not involve any of the above three elements may remain in the Youth Part if the District Attorney proves to the Court that “extraordinary circumstances” exist.

Vehicle and Traffic Law misdemeanor charges cannot be sent to Family Court.

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