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Family Law Attorneys with Extensive Knowledge in Juvenile Delinquency

Article 3 of the Family Court Act, enacted in 1982, was the first comprehensive New York Code governing juvenile delinquency proceedings. Although caselaw has over the years provided us with developments in procedure and precedent, Article 3 has remained largely unchanged. The purpose of Article 3 is to establish procedures in accordance with due process of law for the purpose of determining whether a person is a juvenile delinquent, and, if so, to issue an appropriate order of disposition which considers the needs and best interests of the child as well as the need to protect the community. A fundamental aspect of a juvenile delinquency proceeding is that it is not a criminal proceeding. The dual goal of the delinquency court is to protect the community and to rehabilitate the juvenile. Section 352.1 of the Family Court Act requires the court to determine whether or not the juvenile requires supervision, treatment, or confinement. If he does not, then the petition shall be dismissed. A juvenile delinquent is defined as a person over the age of seven but under the age of 16 who has committed an act which would be a crime if he were over the age of 16 at the time. However, despite the special treatment afforded young miscreants, a juvenile delinquency proceeding is quasi-criminal in nature and such juveniles are entitled to the same due process rights as adults. Juveniles in family court are assigned lawyers if the parents cannot afford one. In certain cases, juveniles are detained during or after the proceeding in a secure or non-secure facility. The facilities in which juvenile may be held do not contain any adult offenders. A juvenile is entitled to pre-trial discovery of evidence against him, and through his attorney, may move to suppress or keep out any such evidence if not properly obtained. A juvenile delinquency case is disposed of a plea or by trial. The trial is called a fact finding. The sentencing phase is known as a disposition. A child who is detained immediately upon arrest is entitled to a probable cause hearing within 72 hours of the time his detention commenced. The actual fact-finding hearing must be commenced within 14 days if the child is in detention and the petition against him charges the commission of a Class A, B, or C felony. If the child is in detention, but the highest count in the petition against him is less than a Class C felony, then the hearing must occur within 72 hours. If the juvenile is not in detention, then, in such case, the fact finding must occur within 60 days after the conclusion of the initial appearance.

There are also special rules and time frames attached to the dispositional hearing, depending on whether or not the juvenile is detained after fact finding. The purpose of the dispositional hearing is to determine whether supervision, treatment, or confinement is most appropriate. In addition to possible placement in a secure or non-security facility, the court may place the child on probation, or conditionally discharge the juvenile. A juvenile delinquency proceeding is a special proceeding which requires legal knowledge of the applicable provisions of the Family Court Act. You must seek counsel who, like Mangi & Graham, LLP, has extensive knowledge of this area of the law.

Contact our law firm to book a consultation to discuss your case with one of our highly knowledgeable family law attorneys in Westbury, New York.


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