New York Youthful Offender Adjudication is a special provision in the Criminal Procedure Law that allows young people avoid having a permanent criminal record. Individuals who receive a Youthful Offender adjudication are considered not to have a criminal record because a Youthful Offender adjudication is not considered a criminal conviction.
Although Youthful Offender cases are prosecuted in “adult” Criminal or Supreme Court by the same District Attorneys who handle adult cases, Youthful Offender give a second opportunity for juvenile offenders. Unfortunately, being a 16 year old, a 17 year old or an 18 year old are not the only requirements that must be met to receive a New York Youthful Offender Adjudication. Under New York Law, in order for someone to receive a Youthful Offender Adjudication, a rigid set of numerous conditions must be met.
What Are Eligibility Requirements for New York Youthful Offender Status?
In order to receive a New York Youthful Offender Adjudication, a number of conditions must be met. Specifically, these conditions are:
- The youth is at least 16 years old, but less than 19 years old,
- The charge is eligible for a Youthful Offender Adjudication (more on that below),
- No prior convictions for a felony,
- No prior Youthful Offender Adjudications or Juvenile Delinquent Adjudications.
Are Any Charges Excluded From Youthful Offender Adjudication?
Under CPL 720. 10(2), certain charges are not eligible for New York Youthful Offender adjudication, unless a mitigating factor is present. These charges are:
- Armed felony offenses (being in possession, being armed or causing serious physical injury by means o a deadly weapon or displaying what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm);
- Rape in the First Degree;
- Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree;
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse.
In order to receive a Youthful Offender adjudication on these charges, the Court must determine that one or more of the following factors exist:
- Mitigating circumstances that bear directly upon the manner in which the crime was committed; OR
- Where the defendant was not the sole participant in the crime, the defendant’s participation was relatively minor although not so minor as to constitute a complete defense to the prosecution.
What is the Procedure For Obtaining a Youthful Offender Status?
After a guilty plea on felony matters, the court will order a pre-sentence investigation report. The purpose of this report is to establish whether an individual is eligible for a Youthful Offender status given their age and prior criminal history. Upon review of the pre-sentence investigation report, the court will announce at sentencing if the individual is eligible for New York Youthful Offender Adjudication.
For misdemeanor matters. the Court will similarly open a pre-sentence investigation report to confirm that the youth previously has not received a youthful offender status. On misdemeanor cases, the youthful offender status is automatically granted, so long as the youth meets the other requirements. So if you are convicted of Criminal Trespass, Petit Larceny, or Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, which are all misdemeanors, and meet the other Youthful Offender requirements, you will automatically be granted a Youthful Offender Adjudication.
Do I Have to Disclose a New York Youthful Offender Adjudication?
It is usually best to consult an attorney about how to answer a question regarding prior criminal convictions. Generally speaking, under New York employment law, an individual does not have to disclose a Youthful Offender Adjudication, because it is not considered a criminal conviction. For all other situations, it is important to see how the question is worded. If possible, before deciding whether to disclose the Youthful Offender Adjudication, you should consult an attorney.
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