A Buffalo teenager arrested for Making Graffiti faces a class A misdemeanor, which is one level below a felony charge and a crime in New York State.
A person convicted of a class A misdemeanor normally faces a possible jail sentence of up to one year, up to three years of probation, and a fine of up to $1,000.
However, if a person 18 years of age or younger at the time of the offense either has no prior felony conviction or was not previously granted youthful offender adjudication following a felony conviction, he or she is automatically eligible for youthful offender adjudication in New York State.
This changes the sentencing parameters.
When youthful offender adjudication is mandatory following a misdemeanor conviction, the Court may still impose a sentence of probation of up to three years and a fine of up to $1,000.
The maximum possible jail sentence, however, is reduced from one year to six months.
If any jail sentence is limited to 60 days or less, the Court may sentence the teenager to jail followed by probation.
Most importantly, a person granted youthful offender status has their record sealed and has no criminal record.
As a result, he or she does not have to disclose the conviction on, for example, college applications or to future employers.
In almost all cases involving graffiti, the Court will also order the payment of restitution to the owner of the damaged property to cover the cost of repairing or replacing it.
Even with youthful offender laws, a teenager arrested for Making Graffiti faces serious consequences and needs an experienced criminal defense attorney.
We can be reached at 716-542-5444 if your child needs legal help.