When a young person allegedly commits a crime, their qualification as a juvenile or an adult is important as it determines the potential consequences and in what jurisdiction they will be tried. Different states have varying guidelines for when minors can be tried as an adult in a court of law. The majority of states consider a juvenile anyone who is less than 18. However, in New York, a juvenile is anyone 16 or younger. Therefore, individuals facing criminal charges can be tried as an adult at a younger age in New York than in most other states.
Sometimes children do things that they may not think are as serious as they truly are. Many kids grow up playing with toy guns and other weapons, and if they threaten someone with them they may not think it is a big deal. But a 12-year-old New York boy was recently arrested for armed robbery that was committed with a pellet gun. It is unknown what the boy's state of mind was when committing the alleged crime, but it is possible that he did not think it was a serious offense.
According to police reports, a 19-year-old college student was approached by a group of juveniles outside of a bookstore. They allegedly demanded that the woman hand over her purse. She refused, at which point the 12-year-old pulled out the pellet gun. The juveniles were apprehended shortly after the incident and the 12-year-old who wielded the pellet gun is being held in a juvenile detention center.
Luckily, this boy will not be tried as an adult and will not face the same consequences that an adult committing armed robbery would face. However, he will still face a judge in family court. Therefore, in situations involving juvenile crime it is still important to have a strong criminal defense. This will help to ensure the consequences are mitigated and have as little long-term impact on the child's life as possible.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "NY police: boy, 12, arrested in armed robbery," Nov. 29, 2012