Juveniles who are arrested are generally prosecuted in Family Court. There are similarities, but also many differences between prosecutions in Family Court and Criminal Court. In Family Court, Family Court Act (FCA) Article Three governs juvenile delinquency proceedings. The speedy trial time for prosecuting juveniles pursuant to FCA is much quicker than the Criminal Procedure Law which governs adult prosecutions.
Unlike in Criminal Court, when a juvenile is arraigned, bail is not set. The child is either released to a parent or guardian or remanded to secure or non-secure detention. In Family Court, the Department of Probation supplies to the judge constant updated reports regarding the child’s school attendance, suspensions, and truancy. If the child is released to a parent or guardian, he or she can also be monitored by special programs during the pendency of the case.
Although the prosecution in both courts must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, a trial in Family Court is heard by a single judge and not a jury. Nor is there a Grand Jury proceeding in Family Court. If a child is remanded, a probable cause hearing is conducted.
Both defendants in criminal cases and respondents in juvenile cases are entitled to challenge certain evidence against them on constitutional grounds. Juveniles in police custody can be interrogated only if a parent or guardian is present, and the questioning must happen in a specially designated room. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the suppression of statements made by the juvenile.
If you’re looking for a lawyer to represent your child in a criminal/delinquency matter, please contact us.
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