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Juvenile charges in New Jersey can be intimidating because they have the potential to be considered adult charges. The state of New Jersey considers a person juvenile if he or she is 17 years of age or younger. Because juveniles are still developing psychologically, they will generally receive a lighter sentence than an adult would for the same offense. However, juvenile charges can become adult charges for violent offenses when a child is 16 years old or older. It is important to defend children that are faced with severe offenses. Utilizing a New Jersey lawyer can help you ensure rehabilitation and a bright future for your juvenile.


Juvenile Charges

The Family Division court is responsible for handling juvenile cases. Here, the goal is rehabilitation, and the penalties are less severe than those in adult court. In addition, juvenile defendants remain anonymous to the public. The proceedings for a juvenile case are not open to the public. Finally, juvenile charges do not involve collateral consequences such as losing a drivers license or the ability to vote. The judicial system recognizes that children do not think the same way as adults in many cases, so the punishment for most offenses is lighter.


Adult Charges

Adult charges are far more severe than juvenile charges. For example, an armed robbery conviction for a juvenile has a maximum 4-year sentence, whereas an adult conviction has a maximum 20-year sentence. Furthermore, the adult court does not have the same goal of rehabilitation that the Family Division court does.


Juvenile Charges Becoming Adult Charges

Due to waiver laws in New Jersey, the judicial system can try a juvenile as an adult for violent offenses. Some violent offenses include homicide and kidnapping. A prosecutor’s request for a juvenile to adult court transfer must be granted by the judge. However, the defense attorney can stop this transfer if he or she can prove that it represents a “patent abuse of discretion.”


Protect Your Child’s Future

A New Jersey lawyer could be necessary for the future of your child. Juvenile charges give minors a chance to make better choices. They can go through rehabilitation and have a clean record when they become an adult. However, this is only possible if the charges stay juvenile. Criminal charges can be difficult or impossible to recover from. A New Jersey lawyer can help you navigate the judicial system and keep your child’s future bright. Furthermore, a lawyer can help reduce charges as much as possible. Barry DUI can help you with your juvenile case. Contact us today for more information.