When a child commits a crime in the State of New Jersey, they may be arrested or detained. Children make mistakes. When parents have to face the reality that their child has committed a crime, they need to consider that consequences can range from something as simple as writing an essay for minor offenses to being tried as an adult, saved for the most egregious crimes. New Jersey judges have a lot of discretion when deciding on how to handle a juvenile case. It is in your family’s best interests to have an effective attorney who knows the juvenile legal system and can help your child fight the charges he or she faces.
What is a Juvenile Crime?
A person arrested for an offense in the State of New Jersey is considered a juvenile if he or she is under the age of 18. Even though juveniles may turn 18 during the course of the trial, they are still considered juveniles because the crime was committed while they were under 18. In the most serious cases, like murder and assault, courts may waive a juvenile up and try them as an adult. In these cases, a juvenile could face adult charges, including prison. In most regular cases, a juvenile case will be heard in the family division of the Superior Court. By state law, juvenile cases heard in the family division are sealed in a juvenile file, though, in some cases, it is not absolute.
How Juvenile Cases Proceed in NJ
In juvenile cases, the parents of the child will receive notice from the Superior Court detailing the charges, court procedures and any other information relevant to the process. When a case is brought before the Superior Court Family Division, a judge will decide if the case warrants an adult trial or stays in the family court. Some simple cases are referred to the Juvenile Conference Committee, a panel of citizen volunteers appointed by a Family Division judge to act on the court’s behalf. Some New Jersey counties will refer the case to a judicial referee; an attorney who sits in for a judge and acts on the court’s behalf with the same legal authority.
Juveniles Must Have Representation
In all juvenile cases, a child must have representation who has their best interests in mind. As soon as parents get a notice from the Superior Court, they should contact an attorney to proceed. If a guardian can demonstrate overwhelming evidence that shows that the family cannot afford an attorney for their child, the state must provide a public defender. The state is very strict and if either parent is employed, they will most likely not be eligible for the assistance.
Contact Cohn Lifland
If your child has been arrested or detained for a crime, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. Juvenile cases proceed quickly and parents should act promptly. Cohn Lifland has a team of diligent attorneys with years of experience related to juvenile crimes. Our firm has defended countless children facing adult trials and had them downgraded back to a family court matter. Our firm can confer with prosecutors, acquire state evidence and properly assess the case, effectively representing the interests of the child. If you are in need of quality legal services, contact Cohn Lifland today.