When a parent receives a call that their child has been "taken into custody" the first concern is getting the child back home. The next concern is making sure that the child can recover from the mistake. Rochelle Berliner is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. She represents juveniles caught up in New York City's juvenile justice system.
A criminal conviction can have serious repercussions on your child's future. It can result in a record of juvenile delinquency and may even result in the child being placed in a detention center. In many cases, an early criminal record can affect a child's future educational opportunities, housing, and career.
While the information on this website is intended to be a helpful resource as you consider your child's legal options, it should not be taken as legal advice. Each case is unique. The specific circumstances surrounding your loved one's situation, including arrest and investigation procedures, are a major factor. It may be in your best interest to contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney who will aggressively fight for your loved one's future.
Queens Juvenile Defense Attorney
The Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner is located in Queens, NY. Ms. Berliner represents juveniles throughout every stage of the case from the initial appearance through the final resolution of the case throughout New York City including Queens, Brooklyn in Kings County, Manhattan, and the Bronx.
Call 718-261-5600 to discuss the particular facts of your case and how Rochelle Berliner can fight to protect your child.
- The Alleged Juvenile Delinquent "Taken into Custody"
- The Initial Appearance in Juvenile Court
- Fact Finding Dispositions in Juvenile Courts
- Dispositional Hearings in Juvenile Courts
- Sentencing in Juvenile Court Cases
- Common "Delinquent Acts" Alleged Against Children
- The Juvenile Offender in New York City
- Queens Juvenile Defense Resources
Under New York law, the term "juvenile delinquent" refers to an act that would be considered a "crime" if it had been committed by an adult. Children as young as 7 years old and as old as 16 years old can be designated as "juvenile delinquents." Instead of using the term "crime," the juvenile justice system refers to the offense as a "delinquent act."
In New York, juvenile delinquency cases are heard in New York's Family Courts. A jury does not decide these cases; instead, a family law judge in juvenile court will decide whether the "delinquent act" was committed. If the juvenile is found to be responsible for the delinquent act, then the court can impose a sentence. In certain cases, the juvenile's defense attorney can assist the child in getting the charges drastically reduced or dismissed.
After the child is taken into custody, the arresting officer with the City of New York Police Department or another law enforcement agency may release the child to the parents with a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) which requires the child and parent to appear in juvenile court for the initial appearance. In other cases, the juvenile is detained while awaiting the initial appearance in juvenile court.
At the initial appearance, the judge can remand the child to a Juvenile Detention Facility or release the child to the parent or guardian.
After the initial appearance (often called "arraignment" in adult court, a fact finding disposition date will be scheduled. During this phase of the case the child's juvenile defense attorney investigates the allegations, finds exculpatory evidence to contest the charges, or focuses on mitigation that will help resolve the case short of a trial.
If an acceptable resolution cannot be negotiated between the juvenile defense attorney and the prosecutor with the District Attorney's Office in Queens or the surrounding areas of New York City, then a final disposition hearing is scheduled. The judge will decide the case based upon the testimony of witnesses and the presentation of other evidence.
The juvenile is not entitled to a jury trial. If the child is found to be guilty of the "delinquent act" then the court will impose a sentence.
At sentencing after the dispositional hearing, the judge has the following sentencing options:
- Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD)
- Conditional Discharge; or
- Placement with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)
The most commonly charged juvenile offenses involve the following types of delinquent acts:
- Unlawful possession of alcohol;
- Possession of marijuana;
- Possession of a controlled substance;
- Gun / Firearm / Weapon charges including possession on school grounds;
- Criminal mischief;
- Arson; and
- Sex crimes committed on a younger child.
Although relatively rare, children of a certain age who are accused of serious crimes could see their case transferred out of juvenile court and into adult court. If the juvenile is 13 years old or older and is arrested for certain serious offenses, then the case is reviewed by the District Attorney's office in the borough in which the crime allegedly occurred.
The District Attorney's Office would then decide whether sufficient evidence exist to support filing the juvenile offender (JO) charges in adult court. If the prosecutor determines that sufficient evidence exists, then the juvenile's case is transferred to the Supreme Court (adult criminal court) in that borough in New York City.
The criminal acts that qualify for "juvenile offender" treatment in New York include:
- If a juvenile is thirteen (13) years old and accused of either of the following crimes:
- a sexually motivated felony if authorized under New York Penal Law section 130.91 or
- murder in the second degree under New York Penal Law section 125.25 (1) or (2).
- If a juvenile is fourteen (14) or fifteen (15) years old and accused of any of the following crimes:
- Assault in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 120.10 (1) or (2);
- Robbery in the first degree under New York Penal Law Section 160.15;
- Robbery in the second degree under New York Penal Law Section 160.10;
- Robbery in the second degree under 265.03 when the following facts apply:
- when a firearm is possessed on school grounds;
- during an attempt to commit a murder in the second degree;
- during an attempt to commit a kidnapping in the first degree; or
- such conduct as a sexually motivated felony when authorized under New York Penal Law Section 130.91.
- Possession of a weapon in the second degree under New York Penal Law section 265.03*;
- Possession of a weapon in the third degree under New York Penal Law section 265.02*;
- Burglary in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 140.30;
- Burglary in the second degree under New York Penal Law section 140.25(1);
- Arson in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 150.20;
- Arson in the second degree under New York Penal Law section 150.15;
- Kidnapping or attempted kidnapping in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 135.25;
- Aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 130.70;
- Sodomy in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 130.50 (1) or (2);
- Rape in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 130.35;
- Criminal sexual act in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 130.50(1) or (2);
- Manslaughter in the first degree under New York Penal Law section 125.20;
- Murder or attempted murder in the second degree under New York Penal Law section 125.25(1) or (2); or
- Murder in the second degree under New York Penal Law 125.25 (3) if the underlying crime for the murder charge is one for which the juvenile is criminally responsible.
If he or she is found guilty in adult court, the child is designated as a "juvenile offender." The court will then impose more serious penalties than those available during the sentencing of a child designated as a "juvenile delinquent."
Recent studies show that approximately 80 percent of juveniles sentenced in adult court received Youthful Offender (YO) status as a condition of the status. The judge in adult court also has the ability to sentence the juvenile charged in adult court as juvenile offenders (JO).
NYC Department of Juvenile Justice - The New York Department of Juvenile Justice (DOJJ) was created in 1979 to provide secure and non-secure detention for alleged Juvenile Offenders (JOs) whose cases are pending, along with post-adjudicated juveniles awaiting transfer to state facilities. While in detention, juveniles receive education, health services, recreation, and case management.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) - Through the OJJDP, the U.S. Department of Justice supports initiatives on the states and communities to develop and implement effective programs for juveniles. The OJJDP is dedicated to strengthening the nation's juvenile justice system's efforts in protecting public safety and provides many community outreach services.
Sowing Encouragement and Education to Develop Skills (SEEDS) - The New York City Department of Juvenile Justice created SEEDS to help the community's youth. This non-detention program provides an alternative environment for alleged Juvenile Delinquents (JDs) as they await the disposition of their cases in Family Court. There are several SEEDS facilities in New York City, including those in the counties of Bronx, Brooklyn, and New York.
Secure Juvenile Detention Facilities in NYC - Information on the Spofford Juvenile Center in the Bronx, Horizon Juvenile Center located in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx and Crossroads Juvenile Center, located in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner | Juvenile Arrest Lawyer in Queens, NY
Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner is committed to protecting the rights of New York's children who are facing criminal charges. A conviction, even for a juvenile, can have serious repercussions on the child's future.
Queens criminal defense attorney Rochelle S. Berliner uses her nearly two decades of experience in the criminal justice system to represent children throughout Queens and New York's boroughs. Call 718-261-5600 or submit an online form for an in-depth consultation over the phone or in her office.
Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...
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