As a parent, there is nothing more important than ensuring that your child stays on the right path. Unfortunately, as you know, children are prone to making mistakes, and if your child has recently been charged with a crime, you are most likely exploring your legal options to help ensure your child is treated fairly under the law. Please continue reading and speak with our knowledgeable Mercer County juvenile offense lawyer to learn more about juvenile crimes and how we can help fight for your child’s rights. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What constitutes a juvenile crime in New Jersey?
When an individual who is under the age of 18 is accused of committing a crime, that child will be considered a juvenile. You should understand that even if your child turns 18 while the case is pending, as long as he or she was under the age of 18 at the time the crime was allegedly committed, he or she will still be charged as a juvenile. Though most juvenile cases are heard by the Family Division of the Superior Court, you should also understand that certain crimes, particularly those that involve serious acts of violence or hefty drug offenses, may be waived up to an adult court trial.
What happens if my child is charged as a juvenile?
If your child has been accused of committing a crime, you will receive a notice from the family court regarding the charges your child is facing and the procedure that will ensue. A judge will then decide whether the alleged crime committed warrants an adult trial. Generally, this does not happen, as long as the crime isn’t particularly heinous. As long as the alleged crime is a lower-level offense, the judge will refer your child’s case to the Juvenile Conference Committee, which is a panel of citizen volunteers appointed by a Family Division judge. The committee takes the place of a jury. In other cases, the judge may refer your child’s case to a judicial referee, which is an attorney that takes the place of a judge.
Keep in mind that the state of New Jersey requires all parents of juveniles charged with crimes to retain legal assistance. Furthermore, retaining the services of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can drastically improve your chances of fighting the charges and allowing your child to move on with a clean slate. If you have any additional questions, simply give us a call today. We are here to help.