South Jersey Juvenile Court Lawyer
Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer Committed to Protecting the Future of Juveniles Accused of Criminal Activity in Camden County, Burlington County and Throughout NJ
Juvenile crimes are handled differently than crimes committed by adults in New Jersey—and for good reason. Young people are, in most cases, more easily subjected to peer pressure and less able to fully comprehend the consequences of their actions. Because of this, and the knowledge that a criminal record could adversely color a juvenile’s entire future, the New Jersey juvenile criminal justice system focuses much more strongly upon rehabilitating the juvenile than punishment following commission of a crime. Despite this, as a parent, it is critical that you take any allegation that your child committed a crime extremely seriously in order to both stop the behavior in its tracks and preserve your child’s bright future.
At Gelman Law, LLC, our experienced Cherry Hill juvenile crimes lawyer understands just how difficult it can be to learn that your child has been charged with committing a crime. We put our negotiation skills to work at the outset to fight to minimize the potential adverse consequences of the criminal accusations by getting your child released from juvenile detention as quickly as possible and by working to negotiate reduced charges or a dismissal if possible.
We handle all types of juvenile crimes cases, including those involving shoplifting, petty theft, drug charges, sex crimes, weapons charges and more. If you are a juvenile who has been accused of committing a crime, or if your child is facing charges at the juvenile level, call our skilled and compassionate juvenile court defense lawyer to see how we can help in your case.
Differentiating Juvenile Crimes in New Jersey
As noted, juvenile crimes are adjudicated differently in New Jersey than those committed by adults. Generally, you should expect to receive a notice that will advise you where the case will be heard. Juvenile crimes cases can be handled informally by a juvenile conference committee, where a municipal court judge will usually rule informally on the case. In more serious juvenile crimes cases, the notice will inform you that the case has been moved to Family Court for prosecution. Although the juvenile criminal justice system is more focused on rehabilitation, you may still face significant penalties for commission of a crime as a juvenile, including:
- Monetary fines,
- Mandatory substance abuse counseling,
- Community service,
- Suspension of your driver’s license,
- Probation or deferred disposition,
- Time spent in a juvenile detention facility.
In considering the appropriate punishment, the individual deciding the case considers all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
- Prior criminal history,
- The type of offense involved,
- Any extenuating circumstances related to the commission of the offense,
- Whether the child is a threat to the public safety,
- The juvenile’s age,
- The juvenile’s academic, social or psychological needs,
- The impact of the crime on the victim and community,
- The best interests of the juvenile.
Generally, the juvenile’s criminal record will be kept under seal, and thus will be confidential with the exception of law enforcement, the justice system and other government agencies unless the crime involved is a more serious violent crime. In most cases, we can help you obtain an expungement of the crime itself in the future to prevent an ongoing permanent criminal record from impacting your child’s future.
Dedicated Camden County Juvenile Crimes Lawyer at Gelman Law, LLC Handles Every Aspect of Your Case
At Gelman Law, LLC, we realize how stressful it can be to learn that your child has been taken into custody and detained. As soon as you learn that your child has been detained after initially being taken into custody, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to handle the hearing where it will be decided whether the juvenile will be released or detained. That hearing must be held the morning after the juvenile is initially detained, and we can continue to challenge your child’s detention if continued detention is recommended at the hearing. Our lawyer will also:
- Argue vigorously to prevent your case from moving to adult court if possible,
- Present a strong defense to the criminal activity itself,
- Advocate for release of the juvenile to parental custody,
- Compile a compelling argument to minimize the penalties involved,
- Ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed with the courts.
Call Today to Schedule a Free Initial Consultation to Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Cherry Hill Juvenile Crimes Defense Lawyer
Committing a crime as a juvenile can lead to more serious criminal activity at the adult level and can also impact your child’s future educational opportunities. If you or your child has been accused of committing a juvenile crime, you need a dedicated lawyer by your side to advocate for your rights throughout the entire process. If you have questions about the juvenile process, we have answers, and we are here to advocate on your behalf every step of the way. Call or contact our office to schedule a confidential consultation with a seasoned South Jersey juvenile crimes defense lawyer today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Juvenile Crimes in New Jersey
FAQ: Do I have the right to a trial by jury in a juvenile crimes case?
No. Juvenile crimes are either decided informally by a municipal court judge or other official, or by a judge in Family Court. You must have an attorney present to advocate on your behalf at the Family Court hearings, however.
FAQ: Is it possible that my child will be treated as an adult, rather than as a juvenile, for committing a juvenile crime?
It’s possible. For more serious violent crimes, the prosecutor in your case may choose to waive the case to an adult court depending upon the circumstances. A judge will ultimately decide whether the case will remain in adult court or be remanded back to the juvenile system, and we will advocate strongly that your case be heard in the juvenile system.
FAQ: What is deferred disposition in a juvenile crimes case?
A deferred disposition is very similar to the diversionary programs available at the adult level. Essentially, certain requirements are imposed—such as community service, mandatory counseling and refraining from committing any further offenses. If the juvenile successfully completes the requirements over the assigned time period, the case may be dismissed without any further action.