As we wrap up our series of posts on the differences between adult court and juvenile court, today we’ll look at the ways the defendant can get deferred adjudication in New Jersey. Adult cases have fewer ways to prevent conviction than juvenile cases have to prevent adjudication. Today, we’re going to identify some of the ways, explain why the differences exist, and show why it could be important to your case. We’ve already covered the differences between conviction and adjudication, the expungement process, no juries in juvenile cases, and the location of court proceedings. So, if you’d like more information on the differences between adult court and juvenile court, make sure you check out those posts.
Deferred Adjudication in New Jersey
First, what are the ways to get deferred adjudication? This is also sometimes called by names like:
- Prevent adjudication
- Pretrial intervention
- Rehabilitative disposition
- Accelerated pretrial rehabilitation
In adult cases, we call this process “pre-trial diversion,” and 48 states have it. In such instances, if the accused can meet certain requirements over a certain period of time, the charges against them will be dismissed. They will not receive a conviction, and it will not appear on their record. However, usually the prosecution must agree to a pre-trial diversion in order for it to pass.
Thankfully, in juvenile cases, the defense can seek a pre-trial diversion or deferred adjudication, and only the judge has to agree. The judge can pass the intervention with or without agreement from the prosecution. Additionally, judges tend to be more open to various arguments for deferred adjudication.
Why the Differences Exist
Second, why do the differences between adult pre-trial diversion and juvenile deferred adjudication in New Jersey exist? As you can imagine, the policies and procedures differ from state to state. Plus, the conditions for meeting the requirements for deferred adjudication differ from state to state.
Nevertheless, the differences between adult and juvenile cases exist because courts want to take a more rehabilitative approach with juveniles. After all, if a 14 year-old child has a crime on their record, they might face the consequences of that for the rest of their life. Courts generally want to prevent that if possible.
Deferred Adjudication in New Jersey and Your Case
Third, what does all of this have to do with your case? Well, if you or someone you know faces charges in a juvenile case, then they want deferred adjudication! Imagine facing criminal charges, but then getting told that if you go to counseling, do some community service, and don’t commit any more crimes for 12 months, those criminal charges will get dismissed. What a relief! You need a competent lawyer who can fight for deferred adjudication.