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New York’s ‘Raise the Age’ Law Is Working Better in Brooklyn Than Anywhere Else


According to statistics recently compiled by the state of New York, the “Raise the Age” law that passed which moves most 16-year-olds accused of crimes out of New York’s Criminal Court and into its Family Court has been accomplished more successfully in Brooklyn than anywhere else in New York. Specifically, these minors have been transferred out of Criminal Court and into Family Court – or to the new Youth section of Criminal Court – more than 90 percent of the time. Family Court emphasizes rehabilitation compared to those areas of Criminal Court that they previously ended up in, and the same law is slated to begin for 17-year-olds starting in October of this year.

How It Works

The first phase of the reform worked by mandating the following for adolescents arrested for committing crimes here in New York:

  • 16-year-olds arrested must have their parents notified;
  • If questioned, parental involvement must occur and they can only be questioned for “limited, developmentally-appropriate” lengths of time in an “age-appropriate setting”;
  • Any 16-year-olds charged with misdemeanors must have their cases heard in Family versus Criminal Court and their cases can be resolved without having to file an official case;
  • There are no permanent criminal records for 16-year-olds charged with misdemeanors in Family Court;
  • 16-year-olds charged with felonies have their cases first heard in the Youth Part of Criminal Court, whereby most will transfer to Family Court unless the court finds that there are “extraordinary circumstances”;
  • 16-year-olds charged with such crimes as displaying a deadly weapon or causing significant injury are also heard in the Youth Part of the Criminal Court, however, the prosecutor can consent to move their case to Family Court;
  • Any cases involving 16-year-olds in the Youth Part are heard by judges specifically trained in both adolescent development and family law; and
  • No 16-year-olds are housed in adult facilities or jails, and this also applies to 17 year olds in NYC.

Criminal Record Sealing

The same criminal record sealing policies that went into effect in 2017 for adults also applies to minors in that anyone convicted of a certain type of crime can apply to have their records sealed after 10 years have passed since being released from incarceration or sentencing. However, those convicted of certain types of felonies, such as sexually violent crimes, or two or more, are not eligible.

Contact Our NYC Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one is under 18 and has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, contact our experienced NYC criminal attorneys at the office of Mark I. Cohen, Esq. today to find out how we can provide you with the very best legal counsel and representation.




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