When you are arrested and charged with a crime, you’ll likely have a lot of concerns that will enter your mind and fill up your life. Things like the possibility of a prison sentence, heavy fines, and other criminal penalties are usually the primary things that people think of. But for a variety of minor offenses, prison time is a rarity. These crimes could include: Continue reading
Attorney Ira Weissman
One of the most significant “escape valves” in the Criminal Procedure Law, Youthful Offender status prevents a defendant from having a criminal record.
Any person charged with a crime who is at least sixteen years old but less than nineteen years old when the crime is alleged to have been committed is a “youth” as defined by the Criminal Procedure Law.
A youth may have their conviction substituted for a “youthful offender finding” if the court determines that they are eligible.
Eligibility for youth offender status depends on several factors. Every youth is eligible unless they are convicted of an A-I or A-II felony, an armed felony or certain sex offenses. Although, even after a conviction for those offenses, the Court could still find a youth to be eligible for youthful offender status if it finds that there are mitigating factors. However, if a youth has been previously convicted and sentenced for a felony then they are ineligible.
The effect of a youthful offender adjudication is to replace the conviction with a youthful offender finding. This means that the person does not have a criminal record. Additionally, all official records relating to the case are kept confidential except that they are allowed to be shared with the child’s school.
It is important to note that while a youth with no prior criminal record who is charged with a misdemeanor must be granted a youthful offender adjudication, the same is not true of a felony offense.
It is within the sole discretion of the Court whether or not to allow a youth to be adjudicated as a youthful offender. Therefore, it is crucial that the attorney representing the youth convince the judge to do so by explaining why the interests of justice would best be served by shielding the defendant from a criminal conviction.
To schedule a free consultation with one of the criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Naiburg Obedin and Weissman call (631) 979-7777.