Juveniles are by no means shielded from penalties for the crimes they commit in New Jersey. Discover how juvenile cases proceed and what the potential charges are for juvenile crimes and how a talented Middlesex County juvenile offense attorney may help protect your child.
How do juvenile cases proceed in New Jersey?
In the state of New Jersey, juvenile cases are not done in a regular courtroom setting, but instead in a family court. When a juvenile is detained, a prosecutor will file a petition against the child that includes the details of the allegations that are being made against them. There is no jury, instead, there is a single judge, which will act and make the decisions by themselves. If they find that there is a lack of evidence, they may decide to dismiss the case. If they find that there is evidence to support the allegations being made, a dispositional hearing may be made. Once a juvenile is sentenced, they are assigned a specific custody level and treatment program based on the assessment of the child’s supervision requirements and service needs.
What are the potential charges for juvenile crimes?
The potential sentences that may be given in juvenile cases vary greatly depending on the offense and what is best for the child. Some options are as follows:
- An adjourned disposition, or delayed decisions for up to 12 months with restrictions.
- Releasing to parent or guardian, with or without conditions.
- Probation for up to three years.
- Payment of restitution.
- Community service.
- Parental involvement in counseling and/or restitution.
- Transfer of custody.
- Diversionary program.
- Residential mental health and/or substance abuse treatment.
What are the potential charges for major juvenile crimes?
Major crimes committed by juveniles can lead to penalties as severe as imprisonment. However, the state of New Jersey has set lower maximum terms of incarceration for juveniles than for adults. The terms are as follows:
- Purposeful or knowing murder: 20 years vs. life for adults.
- Felony murder: 10 years vs. life for adults.
- First-degree crimes other than murder: four years vs. 20 years for adults.
- Second-degree crimes: three years vs. 10 years for adults.
- Third-degree crimes: two years vs. five years for adults.
- Fourth-degree crimes: 12 months vs. 18 months for adults.
These terms are higher for juveniles who are repeat offenders, specifically if they have two previous conviction for first-degree or second-degree crimes. For murder, the maximum sentence may be an additional 5 years. These terms can be extended to an additional 3 years, 2 years, and 1 year for first-degree offenses, second-degree offenses, and third-degree offenses, respectively.
If your child is facing these charges, it is imperative that you employ one of the proficient Middlesex County criminal defense attorneys to help you reduce or eliminate them altogether.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
When someone is charged with a crime, they have a lot to consider. However, we understand that everyone makes mistakes, which is why we are here to help. No matter your circumstances, if you are facing criminal charges, contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Policastro today for the experienced legal counsel you deserve and need.