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In New Jersey, a juvenile is anyone under the age of 18 years old. If a juvenile violates city ordinances or state or federal criminal law, he or she is considered a delinquent rather than a criminal. Juvenile charges are less severe than criminal charges because they are meant to encourage the rehabilitation of young people on the wrong path. Consequently, for the sake of your child’s future, it’s best to find a New Jersey attorney who understands the importance of leading your child in the right direction. It is also important for this attorney to understand the most common juvenile charges in New Jersey.


Common Juvenile Charges

The most common juvenile offense in New Jersey is a disorderly person’s offense. This juvenile charge is the result of a minor behaving in an unruly or disrespectful way towards an authority figure. Other common juvenile offenses in New Jersey include:

  • Underage drinking
  • Fighting
  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism
  • Trespassing
  • Drug possession
  • Sexual offenses

Although these offenses are “juvenile,” the courts of New Jersey have the authority to impose the same penalties as adult criminal courts. This could have a serious effect on your child’s future, so it is important to find a New Jersey attorney who will understand how to protect your child in court and prevent them from being tried as an adult.


Penalties for Juvenile Charges

A disorderly person’s offenses can include underage drinking, fighting, and shoplifting. These offenses can result in up to six months in a county jail, up to $1000 in fines, and community service. Depending on the amount of damage resulting from vandalism, this juvenile charge can result in conviction of a fourth-degree crime. Trespassing can sometimes result in detention time, and drug possession by a juvenile can be considered a fourth-degree offense depending on the amount of the substance. Finally, some of the stiffest consequences result from a juvenile charge for sexual offenses.

Juvenile charges have the ability to severely impact your child’s future. The legal system can be confusing because it is complex. You should seek the expertise of a New Jersey attorney to help you through the judicial process if your minor is facing charges. David C. Barry has experience with juvenile charges. He has dealt with the most common juvenile offenses in New Jersey. Your child’s future depends on how he or she recovers from mistakes made at a young age. Contact Barry DUI today for more information or to set up an appointment.