The decisions one makes during their youth shouldn’t have a lasting impact on their adult years. For some people who have been convicted of crimes while they were still young, the criminal record they have haunts them for their entire adulthood.
Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation that gives some of these individuals another chance at living a productive life. The legislation gives people who were under 19 years old at the time of a conviction apply for the Youthful Offender Status Designation, even if they were previously denied.
What’s the Youthful Offender Status Designation?
A person who’s convicted of a crime before they turn 19 years old has a chance to apply for this program as long as they haven’t been convicted of a crime within the previous five years. It replaces their conviction with a confidential adjudication. The adjudication is non-criminal, and since it’s confidential, it doesn’t affect the person’s criminal history.
A person who’s granted the benefits of this program will likely be able to find employment easier than someone who has a criminal record. It can also have a major impact on their social life. These factors together can give them a new chance at living a better life that doesn’t include returning to the criminal justice system.
Anyone who’s been charged with a crime should review their options for a defense strategy. This sometimes means trying to minimize the penalties they’ll face, but it can also mean trying to end the matter with a not guilty decision. Working closely with someone who’s familiar with your case and the applicable laws might make this a bit easier.