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An Overview of Juvenile Justice

In the state of New Jersey, any individual under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile and will most likely have their case held under the juvenile justice system. Unlike the court system for adults, juvenile courts look for means of rehabilitation, instead of punishment. This means an emphasis on reform and change, rather than life altering incarceration. Although juvenile cases are not as severe, they can still have detrimental consequences that last far into adulthood, affecting college opportunities, travel freedoms and more. This is why it is still extremely important to have a trusted attorney on your side. 

Juvenile Tried as an Adult

In some cases, the prosecution (usually the state) will seek out trying a juvenile as an adult. This is only if the crime committed is seen as violent and more serious. Crimes of this nature can include first degree robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping, weapons possession and more. This can be very significant, as if a juvenile is tried as an adult, their punishments can be much more severe, and even include prison time. Persuading the court to try a defendant as a juvenile or an adult depends on a few key factors, including their age, maturity, mental capacity and previous history of juvenile delinquency. To achieve the best results from a bad situation, it is imperative that the defendant is tried as a juvenile.

Juvenile Defense Resolutions

There are a few ways a juvenile matter can be resolved. The easiest being a conference committee, which would consist of either a probation officer or panel of citizens. In this case, the defendant would appear in court and explain what occurred. The committee would then recommend some action to be taken on the juvenile’s part. This could be anything from writing a paper or attend rehabilitation classes. If the child complies, the charges are then dropped. 

Another resolution is called “Deferred Adjudication.” In this scenario, the juvenile would appear in court and admit certain conduct. The court would accept the admission and essentially place the case on hold, typically ranging from six months to a year. If the child has no interactions with law enforcement over that time, the charges would be dismissed. 

The final resolution is when the State dismisses the complaint, and the juvenile admits to some sort of conduct. If the results of a case end in an admission or an adjudication after the trial, the court will sentence the juvenile in some way. 

Get Proper Representation with Catanzaro Law

Although juvenile offenses may not seem like a big deal, the results of such cases can still have lasting, detrimental effects on those involved. It is important to not face these legal battles on your own. We at Catanzaro Law have experienced, professional attorneys who will fight on your side, and get you the justice you deserve. If you find yourself in these circumstances, contact us today for a free consultation, and get the best representation possible! 


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