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 New Jersey criminal defense attorney 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 prevent actions of today from affecting their future. 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 serious crimes, however, such as crimes of violence, may be referred to the adult trial court.
What happens when children are charged with juvenile crimes?
There are many possible means by which a juvenile charged with an offense can be treated by the court system. A first offense that is fairly minor may be referred for diversion wherein the juvenile will not appear before a judge and may have to do community service or write a letter of apology and stay out of trouble for a period of time and then the charges will be dismissed. If the matter is more serious or not a first offense, then the matter will be heard by a judge in family court. If the offense is one where the state wishes the matter to be handled by the adult court, then the court will hear legal arguments from the state/prosecutor and the juvenile’s attorney and determine whether the matter will stay in family court or be “waived up” to adult court. If the matter remains in family court, then the judge will preside over the entire case until it is resolved.
If your child has been charged with a crime, you should retain counsel. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be able to retain the services of a public defender if you qualify financially. 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.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
If you have recently been charged with a crime, you need knowledgeable legal counsel on your side. Our firm has helped countless individuals navigate the complex legal system for years, and we are ready to provide you with the legal assistance you deserve and need to move on with your life. Contact Rem Katcher Law Group, P.C. today to learn more about how our firm can assist you through this difficult time.