Any individual under the age of 18 is considered a minor. In New Jersey, if you commit a crime as a minor, you are considered to have committed a juvenile offense. Although a minor commits an offense, it does not mean that he or she is not subject to arrest or detainment by the police. Juveniles may be subject to the same criminal procedures as an adult. In addition, the consequences for a juvenile offender may also be severe and carry very harsh penalties. As a result, and since a juvenile cannot speak for themselves, parents are required to bear the burden of their child’s offenses. If your child has committed a crime and is a juvenile, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you and your child. Contact The Law Office of Michael A. Policastro.
What is a Juvenile Offense?
In New Jersey, a juvenile crime is defined as any crime that is committed by someone under the age of 18, or as a minor. Although a juvenile may turn 18 shortly after the commission of a crime or during their trial, they are still considered juveniles since their age when they committed the crime prevails. Most juvenile cases in New Jersey will be heard by the family division in the appropriate Superior Court. Although, there are instances where a case may be referred- which can depend on severity or if it is a subsequent offense, for example. To protect the privacy of minors, and in an effort to minimize their exposure to disadvantages in adulthood, their cases may be sealed subsequent to disposition. However, whether or not a juvenile’s record will be sealed may be discretionary.
Do Juveniles Need a Lawyer?
In New Jersey, all juveniles who are charged with a crime must have legal counsel to represent their best interests. A juvenile’s parents should make the arrangements for an attorney as soon as they are notified that their child is being charged with a crime. In some circumstances, a juvenile may be able to receive assistance from a public defender if his or her family cannot afford legal representation. However, the standard may be higher for a juvenile to retain a public offender than it is for an adult.
When a Juvenile is Tried as an Adult
When a juvenile is tried as an adult, the stakes are high. A conviction of a crime as an adult can carry harsher penalties than if convicted as a juvenile. If a juvenile commits a serious felony like a murder, for example, New Jersey courts have the discretion to increase the charge and try the juvenile as an adult. This can result in lengthy prison sentences, an open criminal record, and even fines with a large price tag. A juvenile who is tried as an adult stands to lose a lot in their adulthood and these juveniles necessitate adequate representation by a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.
What Happens in a Juvenile Proceeding?
In most juvenile cases, the parents of the juvenile who committed the crime will be notified from the Superior Court about the pending charges, court procedures, contact information for the court, and any additional information pertinent to the case. A juvenile case may proceed in the Superior Court or it may be referred to a Juvenile Conference Committee or a judicial referee. Both the Juvenile Conference Committee or judicial refer will act on the court’s behalf and essentially have the same legal authority.
Contact the Law Office of Micahel A. Policastro
If your minor child was arrested or detained for any juvenile offense, it is imperative that you immediately retain counsel to represent your child. Since juvenile cases can proceed rather quickly, it is important that you develop a plan to best protect your child. The attorneys at the Law Office of Michael A. Policastro have many years of experience handling juvenile matters. Our team is ready to confidently defend your child and his or her future. In your child requires quality legal services, contact our firm today.