Since children have not yet matured, they often make mistakes. They are in the process of learning by trial and error. As parents, you find different ways to discipline your child when they do something wrong. Whether they hit their sibling or throw their food on the ground, you find a way to make sure they do not do it again. This could result in a time out for the child or any other consequence that you deem to be a good fit as a punishment. Since you’re their parent, you are very forgiving toward your child. You may get mad at them but soon enough they’re doing something that you are proud of. However, the law may not be so forgiving. If children commit a serious crime, they may be tried as an adult. This can lead to a bleak future for a child.
What happens if my child is charged as a juvenile?
In the state of New Jersey, juveniles are all those under the age of 18. Children under this age will be tried as a juvenile if they commit a crime. If it’s the case that a child turns 18 while undergoing court proceedings, they may continue to be charged as a juvenile since they were underage when the crime was committed. Juvenile offenses are usually not as serious or harmful as offenses that could cause them to be tried as an adult.
When juveniles are charged with a crime, they will usually have their cases heard in the Family Division of the Superior Court. These cases become sealed in the party’s juvenile file. However, there are some exceptions. If a juvenile’s charge escalates them to be tried as an adult, the process will be different. Crimes involving murder, assault and rape may result in a juvenile being charged as an adult in court.
How do juvenile cases proceed?
If your child is charged with a juvenile crime, you will be informed of the charges and the process that is expected. Any primary caretaker is informed of the situation regarding the juvenile. If the crime calls for an adult charge, the child could be pushed up to criminal court. Other cases that only include a juvenile charge can be sent to the Juvenile Conference Committee. Some courts may even transfer the case to a judicial referee. This figure is an attorney that is given the same legal authority as the Superior Court judge.
With juvenile cases, children must have representation. Although adults have the option to waive their right for counsel, guardians of the children are obligated to provide an attorney for a juvenile. If one cannot be afforded, then a public defender can be requested. However, if the court believes a guardian can afford an attorney, they have the ability to deny your request for a public defender.
When it comes to matters involving your children, you want to make sure they are in the best care possible. Contact our firm today to provide your child with legal representation that comes from years of experience. We want to help protect your child’s future.
Our firm proudly represents clients in New Jersey who are faced with matters of family law, criminal defense, business law, real estate law, or estate planning. If you require strong and dedicated representation for any of your legal matters, contact The Law Offices of George J. Mardinly to schedule a consultation.