Legal Aid Society

Juvenile Delinquency & Detention

We provide direct representation and counsel youth and families impacted by the Juvenile Justice system—our representation includes legal defense, advising at police interrogations, arranging for safe surrenders, and avoiding court filings through early engagement of legal support and intervention.

How To Get Help

Call our Juvenile Rights Practice trial office in your borough and ask to speak to a delinquency supervisor:

  • If you are 16 or 17, or a parent or guardian of such a youth, and the police have contacted you about a misdemeanor offense
  • If you are 15 or younger, or a parent or guardian of such a youth, and the police have contacted you about any felony or misdemeanor.

JRP Offices:

Bronx: 718-579-7900
Brooklyn: 718-237-3100
Manhattan: 212-312-2260
Queens: 718-298-8900
Staten Island: 347-422-5333

Call our Criminal Defense Practice trial office in your borough and ask to speak to the intake attorney:

  • If you are 14-15 years old, or a parent or guardian of such a youth, and the police have contacted you about a serious felony charge or
  • If you are 16 or 17 years old, or a parent or guardian of such a youth, and the police have contacted you about any felony charge.

CDP Offices:

Bronx: 718-579-3000
Brooklyn: 718-237-2000
Manhattan: 212-732-5000
Queens: 718-286-2000
Staten Island: 347-422-5333

We can answer your questions about the process and we are available to communicate with the arresting officer to:

  • Arrange for the youth to turn themselves in.
  • Tell the NYPD not to question the youth.
  • Provide counsel through the arrest process.

If your child has already been arrested and you have questions about what is going to happen you can also call us at the numbers above.

To find your child’s location if they are in detention (Crossroads, Horizons, or a Non-Secure Detention facility) call ACS at 212-442 7100.

Important Things To Know

What should I do if the police want to talk to me about an incident?

Learn More

What is a Juvenile Offender?

Learn More

What is Probation Intake?

Learn More

Terms You Might Hear

The justice system can be overwhelming. Get familiar with some legal terms and acronyms you might hear like appeal, adjournment, petition, jurisdiction, deposition, and affidavit.

  • Adjournment – A temporary postponement of a case until a specified future time.
  • Administration for Children's Services (ACS) – The Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and its network of community-based organizations promotes the safety and well-being of New York's children and families.
  • Arraignment – A criminal proceeding at which the defendant is called before a court, informed of the offense charged in the complaint, information, indictment, or other charging document, and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or as otherwise permitted by law.
  • Attorney – A person admitted to practice law and authorized to perform criminal and civil legal functions on behalf of clients.
  • Clerk – An official or employee of the court who maintains the files of each case, and issues routine documents.
  • Conviction – A criminal proceeding that concludes the defendant is guilty of the charged crime.
  • Custody – The care, possession, and control of a thing or person.
  • Defendant – In a civil matter, this refers to the individual being sued. This party is called the "respondent" in a summary proceeding. In a criminal case, the court officers and district attorneys will use this term to refer to someone accused of a crime.
  • Delinquency – An offense or misdemeanor; a misdeed; A debt or other financial obligation on which payment is overdue.
  • Dismissal – Termination of a proceeding for a procedurally prescribed reason.
  • Evidence – A form of proof or probative matter legally presented at the trial of an issue by the acts of the parties and through witnesses, records, documents, concrete objects, etc., for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or the jury.
  • Expunge – To intentionally destroy, obliterate, or strike out records or information in files, computers, and other depositories.
  • Felony – An offense of graver character than a misdemeanor and usu. punished by imprisonment for more than one year.
  • Grand Jury – A jury convened to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant the indictment of a suspected offender.
  • Juvenile Offender – A youth who is 13, 14 or 15 years old and has committed a very serious felony, may be tried as an adult in the New York City Supreme Court. If found guilty, the youth is called a Juvenile Offender, and is subject to more serious penalties than a Juvenile Delinquent.
  • Lawyer – Someone whose job is to give advice to people about the law and speak for them in court.
  • Lien – A claim on specific property for payment of a debt.
  • Misdemeanor – Lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year. Misdemeanors are distinguished from felonies which can be punished by a state prison term.
  • Motion – A request to the court, usually in writing, for relief before the trial on the parties' claims, or for different or additional relief after the trial decision.
  • Order of Protection – A court order requiring someone to stay a certain distance from another person, and sometimes, their children, home, pets, school or employment.
  • Petition – In special or summary proceedings, a paper like a document filed in court and delivered to the respondents, stating what the petitioner requests from the court and the respondents.
  • Precinct – A district of a city or town defined for police purposes. May also refer to a police station.
  • Probation – The condition of being allowed freedom if they commit no more crimes and follow certain rules.
  • Proceeding – A type of lawsuit. For example: In Housing Court, a nonpayment proceeding seeks past-due rent; a holdover proceeding seeks possession of the premises.
  • Testimony – An oral declaration made by a witness or party under oath.
  • Trial – The formal examination of a legal controversy in court so as to determine the issue.
  • Warrant – An official document approved by an authority (normally a judge) which gives the police permission to do certain things.
  • Witness – A person who testifies to what they have seen, heard, or otherwise observed.