What Are Juvenile Crimes?

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When a parent hears the news that their child has just been charged with a crime, it is often an overwhelming and unexpected moment in time. However, it is not time to panic–instead, it is time to contact an experienced Bergen County criminal defense lawyer at once. Our compassionate legal team can assess your situation and determine the best path forward in an effort to protect your child’s rights and to keep him or her out of jail. Here are some of the questions you may have about juvenile crimes and the legal process ahead:

What constitutes juvenile crimes in New Jersey?

In the state of New Jersey, if someone under the age of 18 and commits a crime, he or she will be considered a juvenile in the eyes of the law. Even if your child is now 18 but committed the crime before he or she turned 18, he or she will still be considered a juvenile. In most cases, juvenile crime cases are handled by the Family Division of the Superior Court. The most heinous crimes, however, such as serious drug crimes, may be waived up to an adult court trial.

What happens children are charged with juvenile crimes?

First, the family court will send you a notice regarding the charges your child is facing. A judge then determines whether the crime your child allegedly committed should be waived up to adult trial or if it should be referred to the Juvenile Conference Committee. The Committee is a panel of citizen volunteers appointed by a Family Division judge who will essentially evaluate your child’s disposition and the charges alleged against him or her, and from there, they will act as a jury in determining whether your child is guilty of the crime.

If your child has been charged with a crime, you should note that you are required to retain legal assistance. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be able to retain the services of a public defender, but you will have to make less than a certain amount per year to be granted a public defender. In most cases, it is simply best to retain the services of a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney who has the experience and dedication needed to effectively fight for your child’s rights.

If you have any further questions or your child has been charged with crime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri for help today. We are here to fight for you and your child’s future, every step of the way.