When an individual who is considered a juvenile commits a crime, they still will face legal consequences, but those consequences tend to be not as severe as if they were an adult. The state of New Jersey has laws and regulations regarding how and when a minor can be arrested and detained. These laws will also affect how their charges are handled in court. Learn more about juvenile crimes below and what you should do if your child is charged with one in New Jersey.
Why Does New Jersey Treat Juveniles Differently?
When individuals are left with a criminal record, it can affect the rest of their lives in many different ways. Criminal charges can leave you with a permanent legal record, force you to pay expensive fines, prevent you from getting certain jobs, and even determine where you can and can’t live.
Because individuals under the age of 18 might not necessarily understand the extent of their actions, they are more likely to face reduced sentencing following a criminal charge. Otherwise, adult charges imposed on a minor could ruin the rest of their professional and personal lives, sometimes leading to additional crimes.
New Jersey Arrest Laws
There are limitations on how long an officer or department can detain a juvenile, even if they are being charged. New Jersey laws state that:
- Minors cannot be taken into custody unless there is probable cause that they acted in a delinquent way
- Minors must be released to a parent or legal guardian or be secured in a detention facility
The arresting officer might release the minor to their parents with a warning or refer them to a juvenile court. If the minor is released to their parent, there are usually no further charges.
Navigating Juvenile Court in New Jersey
If the arresting officer decides to refer the minor to juvenile court, the individual will be temporarily detained in a detention facility. The minor’s case is then transferred to a juvenile prosecutor. It is then up to the juvenile prosecutor whether or not they want to pursue charges on the minor.
The court and prosecutor will consider many factors when determining whether or not to pursue legal charges, which include:
- The age of the offender
- The type of the crime committed
- Whether or not there is evidence
- Whether or not the offender has a previous record
- The offender’s home life
- The offender’s school life
- The offender’s attitude around the charges
Many of these factors are considered in an attempt to better understand the offender’s motives and likeliness to commit a repeat crime.
If the prosecutor does move the case through the system, the offender can expect either an informal hearing with the judge or a formal proceeding. During an informal hearing, the judge may want to find out additional details or talk to the minor for themselves. They may be required to complete community service or to be on probation.
If the case is moved to a formal proceeding, the offender is arraigned and may be held or released on bail. Depending on the severity of charges, it’s possible for the individual to be tried in an adult court.
Your Legal Options Following Juvenile Delinquency Charges
If your child is dealing with potential juvenile delinquency charges, then it is important to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer. Criminal charges can impact your life negatively for years to come. It is possible that they will qualify for reduced charges. Don’t let one mistake dictate and then ruin the rest of your child’s life.
Contact an Experienced Marlton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Juvenile Delinquency Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with juvenile delinquency in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Attorneys Hartman, Chartered have successfully represented clients charged with juvenile delinquency in Burlington County, Camden County, Moorestown, Marlton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 235-0220 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 68 East Main Street, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.