On October 1, 2018, Raise the Age will go into effect in New York State and will be fully implemented by October 1, 2019. This means that 16- and 17-year olds will no longer be prosecuted in adult criminal courts; their cases will be transferred to either Family Court or the designated youth part in adult criminal court. All misdemeanors cases (except vehicle and traffic offenses) will be prosecuted in Family Court. All non-violent felonies will start out in the youth part in adult criminal court, but will be transferred to Family Court unless the District Attorney files a motion within 30 days showing “extraordinary circumstances” for the matter to remain in the youth court. The judge must determine within five days of the motion or hearing if the matter will be transferred to Family Court. Some violent felonies can also be transferred to Family Court. However, violent felonies where a dangerous weapon is alleged to be displayed, significant physical injury has resulted, or unlawful sexual conduct has occurred cannot be transferred unless the District Attorney consents to the removal. Remaining violent felonies can also be transferred to Family Court, unless the District Attorney can show “extraordinary circumstances” for the matters to remain in the youth part.
Parental notification is also an important element of this new legislation. Parents must be notified when their 16- and17-year old children are arrested. Also, by October 1, 2018, Rikers Island will no longer house any youths under the age of 18.
The goal for Raise the Age is to offer adolescents intervention and services which they would not receive if prosecuted in adult court. Overwhelming research supports that such intervention lowers the risk of rearrest.
Along with North Carolina, New York was the only state to prosecute 16 year olds in the adult system. Raise the age will begin on October 1, 2018 for 16-year olds and will take effect for 17-year olds on October 1, 2019.