When a young individual faces drug-related charges in New York State, the legal system considers various factors to determine whether the court will try the accused as a minor.
Parents and adolescents must understand these factors to navigate the legal landscape effectively.
Age of the offender
One of the primary factors influencing the outcome of a drug charge is the age of the accused. In 2019 New York State raised the age at which the court tries individuals as adults for misdemeanors from 16 to 18. However, for those aged 17 facing a felony arrest, the situation becomes more complex. The court may try these individuals as adults, depending on the severity of the charges.
Nature and severity of the offense
The gravity of the drug offense plays a pivotal role in determining whether the court will try a juvenile as a minor. New York State evaluates the specific details of the alleged crime, considering factors such as the type and quantity of the drugs involved. Serious offenses or those involving larger quantities may increase the likelihood of trying the case in criminal court rather than Family Court.
Prior criminal history
A history of previous criminal activities can significantly impact the legal outcome for a young offender. If the juvenile has a record of prior offenses, especially those related to drugs, the court may be less inclined to treat the current case leniently.
Criminal intent and conduct
The court assesses the intent and conduct of the accused during the alleged drug-related incident. If it determines that the juvenile had a clear intent to distribute or engage in more serious drug-related activities, this may sway the decision toward trying the individual as an adult.
Ultimately, understanding the nuances of New York State law can contribute to better outcomes for juveniles facing drug-related charges in the state.