For those parents who have never dealt with criminal charges for themselves or their children, it can be difficult and confusing to try to “learn on the fly.” Having an experienced Juvenile Defense Attorney can be a great asset in navigating the juvenile criminal system and avoiding prosecution. If your child has been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, you must first understand that the process will be different from if they were an adult. Juvenile cases are placed on a different track than adult charges. This process may involve the Superior Court Family Division or it may be resolved through a Juvenile Conference Committee. Understanding what each of these concepts entail and what outcomes are available can make all the difference for your child. Call 609-850-8284 today to speak with a Juvenile Defense Lawyer at Proetta & Oliver. We will happily discuss the facts of your case and help you understand what to expect.
NJ Juvenile Delinquency
If the court determines that a criminal act was committed by a juvenile, then the juvenile will be found delinquent. Delinquency is defined as “an act by a juvenile under the age of 18 that if committed by an adult would constitute a crime, a disorderly persons offense, a petty disorderly persons offense, or a violation of any other penal statute, ordinance or regulation.”
What Happens if My Child Was Charged with a Crime as a Juvenile in NJ?
If your child has been arrested or charged with a criminal offense while a juvenile, then the court will review the charges and the allegations to determine how to proceeds. Specifically the court will look at:
♦ The nature and seriousness of the offense, ♦ Age of your child, ♦ Prior record, if any, and
♦ Willingness of parties to cooperate.
Depending on what the court finds, the case will be processed into one of the following forums:
A delinquency complaint can be referred to a Juvenile Conference Committee or Intake Services Conference. A Juvenile Conference Committee is a trained citizen volunteer panel appointed by the court. An Intake Services Conference is conducted by a Judiciary staff person. The parent, the juvenile and the person who filed the complaint are invited to discuss the offense and other related factors. The committee or intake officer does not have the authority to determine delinquency. This is an informal discussion of the events and all parties must be in agreement. Attorneys are not required. There is no chance of your child being sent away to a juvenile facility. The disposition recommendations will be placed on an agreement/court order signed by your child, you as his or her parent/legal guardian, and the person who filed the complaint. This agreement will then be forwarded to the judge for final approval.
What Kind Of Penalties Can Happen if My Child is Charged with a Crime?
This depends entirely upon how the case is processed. If the matter is put before a judge in a formal proceeding, then your child can face upwards of four years in a Juvenile Detention Center, depending on the nature of the charges. Alternatively, if your child’s case is downgraded and resolved through a Juvenile Conference Committee (JCC) or Intake Services Conference (ISC), then the penalties typically include:
◊ Curfew ◊ Counseling ◊ Evaluation ◊ Community Service ◊ Restitution, or ◊ Any condition that will aid in your child’s rehabilitation.
However, if your child fails to complete the conditions or new complaints are signed, then the original complaint will go back to court to be heard by a judge.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Mount Laurel, Point Pleasant, Princeton and Middletown. All major credit cards are accepted.