NYCourts.govNew York State Unified Court System

Youthful Offenders

A 16 year old who committed a crime before October 1, 2018, or a 17 or 18 year old who commits a crime is treated as an adult, but can be considered for youthful offender (YO) status at the Sentencing. Being a youthful offender gives a teen a chance to have no criminal record even for a felony.

For information about 16 year olds who commit a crime after September 30, 2018, visit: Adolescent Offenders.


Youthful Offender Requirements

In general, to be treated as a youthful offender, the youth must:

  • Be least 16 and under 19 at the time the crime is committed.
  • Have no prior felony convictions
  • Have never been treated as a youthful offender before

Youth accused of felonies or other serious violent offenses may not be given youthful offender status. It is up to the judge.

Benefits of YO

A youthful offender record is not a criminal record. It is automatically sealed and does not have to be reported on any applications for college or work as a criminal conviction. It does not disqualify the YO from holding public office, or public jobs.

The YO maximum sentence can be no more than four years in jail.

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