All around the country, juvenile crime laws are designed to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. As such, they are not punitive, but constructed in such a way that the minor is able to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society. This, however, does not mean that the law is lax or lenient with juvenile offenders. There are clear laws set to address juvenile delinquency in whatever form it appears.
According to the law, a juvenile is any child or adolescent under the age of 18. Juvenile delinquency covers crimes such as murder, a disorderly person offense, assault or resisting arrest. It also covers petty disorderly person offenses like shoplifting, skipping school, or a violation of any penal statute, ordinance or regulation set by the state of New Jersey.
In the interest of rehabilitating these minors, majority of the juveniles are not formally charged except in the following cases:
The penalties that the juvenile may face can range from incarceration in an adult prison, being placed in a juvenile facility or group home, community service, probation or attending a rehabilitative program. This is determined by the type of crime and the previous record of the juvenile.
A juvenile enters the court system when a complaint is leveled against them for having committed a delinquency. If there is probable cause that the juvenile has committed the offense, then he/she may be taken into custody. Thereafter, the officer may release the juvenile to a parent or guardian if the delinquency complaint is not signed. If it is signed, the juvenile will be held in a secure detention facility as the case is referred to court where the case will take its course.
If convicted of a crime, the juvenile will then have a criminal offense in his records just like an adult. However, unlike an adult, these records should not be made available to the public, according to the law. You can have your lawyer apply to have the records safe-guarded from public inspection. It is important to note that this sealing is not 100% since the information is expected to be disclosed to the victim’s family and the juvenile’s school. The records can also be opened if the juvenile commits another crime.
Handling juvenile criminal cases requires a certain skill set to handle both the juvenile and the court system. Often juveniles or their parents may refuse to admit guilt to their criminal defense attorney. In addition, there are different rules and court systems involved in handling such cases.
While a lawyer is not always required for juvenile cases, for the sake of your child’s future, you should consult experienced lawyers who will protect their rights. It is therefore important to get the top representation which is what we offer you. Contact us today and let us help you protect your child’s future.