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Navigating the Juvenile Justice Process

Trenton Juvenile Defense Lawyer

It’s not possible to monitor your child at all times to ensure that they’re making wise choices. Sometimes good kids fall in with the wrong crowd or just make a one-time bad decision. Going through the juvenile court system can be an intimidating process for both the child and the parent. Mark Catanzaro is a successful juvenile defense lawyer in Trenton who can help ease your fears and obtain the best results for your child.

How does the Juvenile Justice Process Work?

When a child under 18 breaks the law in New Jersey, the case begins in family court rather than criminal court and is centered around rehabilitating the child. As a juvenile, the child is not charged with a crime but is charged with an act of juvenile delinquency. He or she can be taken into custody for any act that would normally be treated as a crime or violation, such as:

  • Drug possession or sale
  • Burglary
  • Assault
  • Vandalism
  • Ordinance violations

If taken into custody for their conduct, the juvenile will be held in a detention center and will have a hearing within 24 hours to determine if continued custody is required. During this hearing, the judge will take many factors into consideration, such as:

  • Nature of the offense
  • Surrounding circumstances
  • Juvenile’s age
  • Prior record

Subsequent hearings will occur for a probable cause determination and review hearings while the child remains detained. It is important to realize that juveniles are not afforded the right to be released on bail when they are held in a detention center.

A decision on the delinquency charges will be made at the adjudicatory hearing. If the juvenile is adjudicated delinquent (comparable to “found guilty” in criminal court), the judge will order a disposition. Dispositions can range from supervised probation, to house arrest, to incarceration at a juvenile detention center.

Juveniles can be tried as adults in certain matters. A prosecutor may waive a case to criminal court if a child over the age of 14 commits certain offenses, including but not limited to: homicide, first degree robbery, sexual assault, car theft, and aggravated arson.

How A Trenton Juvenile Defense Lawyer Can Help

Mark Catanzaro knows that dealing with the misconduct of a child is an extremely sensitive matter that requires the expert knowledge of a Trenton juvenile defense lawyer. As the representing attorney for your child, he will guide you and your child through this complex process and advocate for the most favorable disposition possible. It is especially important to utilize a lawyer’s services when it comes time to initiating the process to expunge your child’s juvenile record.

If you find yourself in need of a juvenile defense lawyer in Trenton, do not hesitate to call our office to schedule a free consultation. We will answer all your questions and provide outstanding representation.


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Office Locations

Mount Holly:

21 Grant St.
Mt. Holly, New Jersey


143 White Horse Avenue
Trenton, New Jersey