The Sanders Firm, P.C.: Infancy Defense in Criminal Law

One criminal defense is that of infancy. Infancy is a defense that is used when someone involved in a criminal act is not considered responsible for their actions due to their age. The basic idea being that in order for someone to bear responsibility for a criminal act, that they must be able to ascertain and understand the consequences and that is not possible until they reach a certain age.

Age of Criminal Responsibility

In New York, the age of criminal responsibility is 16 years old. Thus, anyone younger committing a crime may not be judged as an adult except in certain instances as outlined in state law. Exceptions include in the case of murder in the second degree, a sexually motivated felony, kidnapping in the first degree, arson in the first degree, and manslaughter in the first degree.

Other crimes where the age of the defendant is lower than that normally acknowledged in the infancy defense include but are not limited to:

• assault in the first degree
• manslaughter in the first degree
• rape in the first degree
• criminal sexual act in the first degree
• aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree
• burglary in the first degree
• burglary in the second degree
• arson in the second degree
• robbery in the first degree
• robbery in the second degree

Depending on the specific crime, the age of responsibility ranges from 13 to 15 years of age.

Understanding the Law

The infancy defense may be applied to many situations, understanding how this defense works and the manner in which it may be applied, requires the assistance of a legal professional who can help a defendant decide if such a defense is actually appropriate.

It is important to realize that a defense of infancy is not an excuse, but a legal defense that acknowledges that for certain crimes those who are on the cusp of adulthood are not yet adults and they do not fully understand the seriousness of their actions, especially in nonviolent crimes. In a way, this defense offers someone who is under the age of responsibility the opportunity to learn and perhaps benefit from his or her infraction.

Utilizing an Infancy Defense

When it is appropriate, The Sanders Firm, P.C. offers its criminal law clients the chance to use infancy as their defense. Often this is in cases where the defendant has been clearly connected to the crime and meets the age requirements for infancy under New York law. If you need legal representation after being charged with a criminal offense, call The Sanders Firm, P.C. at 844-839-8077. We will discuss your case with you, answering any questions you may have, and offer possible defenses. Depending on the age of the defendant and the situation, an infancy defense may be in order. Contact The Sanders Firm, P.C. today. We are your voice for justice.