Most cases involving a defendant under the age of 18 fall under the juvenile justice system. This court system features different rules than the court system for adults. Unlike adult courts, juvenile courts mainly focus on rehabilitating the defendant. This means an emphasis on reform and change rather than just punishment and deterrence. However, sometimes the court tries a juvenile as an adult instead, and this can mean harsher sentences. Therefore, if you or a loved one face the adult court as a juvenile, you need to hire the best New Jersey juvenile defense lawyer!
When You Need the Best New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyer
First, why do the courts try a juvenile as an adult sometimes? Usually, the prosecution seeks this out. Accordingly, they have to get an involuntary waiver from juvenile court by filing a motion with the Family Division of Superior Court. However, the prosecution only pursues this motion if they believe the crime was particularly heinous. Some criminal offenses considered for a juvenile waiver include:
- First degree robbery
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Second degree sexual assault
- Criminal homicide (except death by auto)
- Aggravated arson
- Weapons possession while committing certain drug offenses
- Strict liability in cases involving drug-induced deaths
- Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the above
These violent and serious crimes subject the defendant to serious consequences, including lengthy prison terms. Consequently, the defense must act quickly and efficiently to persuade the court to try the defendant as a juvenile.
Persuading the Court
Second, how can a New Jersey juvenile defense lawyer persuade the court in this way? The court will weigh several factors in deciding whether to send the case to juvenile or adult court. Some of these factors include:
- Nature and circumstances of the offense
- Mental capacity and cognitive development
- Evidence of mental health issues, emotional instability, substance abuse
- Potential danger to the public
- Prior history of juvenile delinquency
- Prior response to rehabilitation
- Degree of criminal sophistication
So, an excellent attorney knows how to use these factors for the defendant’s advantage.
Hire a Trusted New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyer
Finally, if your child possibly faces a trial in adult court, you need to seek out an experienced and aggressive defense attorney immediately. Thankfully, Mark Catanzaro is that attorney! Contact his office to schedule a free and confidential consultation.