New York is one of only two states in the country that routinely sentences 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, with an estimated 800 minors in that age group serving time in one of the state’s adult prisons. However, there has been a concerted effort to curb that practice and raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 in New York. Under the reform plan proposed by New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, prosecutors would still retain some ability to charge minors as adults under rare circumstances, particularly those involving exceedingly serious violent crimes.
More recently, there has been an increased level of support for this reform on the part of police, sheriffs, and prosecutors. Should this bill make its way through the legislative process, it is estimated that nearly 1,600 minors would be spared a permanent criminal record. Moreover, these minors would not be sentenced to prison time in one of the state’s adult prisons.
Unfortunately, many alleged offenders who are 16 and 17 years of age will continue to be charged as adults for the time being. With that in mind, it is critical to enlist the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can fight on behalf of your defense. To discuss the particulars of your or your child’s charges, call the Law Offices of Richard A. Portale, P.C., at (914) 772-3166 today.