A youth under the age of 16 can be arrested and charged with crimes which would otherwise constitute misdemeanors or felonies in the State of New York. Such crimes are prosecuted in Family Court.
The crimes a youth can be charged with as basically as broad as those an adult can be charged with. The most common of such crimes in the juvenile context are assaults and petit larceny. Youths can not only be arrested but also detained in a juvenile detention center for the most serious (or repeat) offenders. Youths can be sentenced for some crimes up to the age of 21 years, and thus such proceedings should be taken very seriously.
A child under the age of 16 has many special protections in place, beyond those afforded to adults (such as the right to a lawyer & the right to remain silent). Children also have a right to have a parent or guardian present during questioning, have a right to be questioned in a special juvenile interrogation room and cannot be sent to “jail” or “prison” unless charged as an adult.
Nevertheless, if your child is arrested & charged as a juvenile delinquent, you should immediately call an attorney who handles such matters.