Juvenile crime laws in New Jersey are designed to rehabilitate young offenders. For this reason, punishments for these crimes are designed to rehabilitate and reintegrate juveniles into society and are not punitive. No matter what form juvenile delinquency takes, there are clear laws set to address it. Below are the definition of juvenile offenses, criminal cases, and the importance of juvenile representation to protect a child's future.

Juvenile Offenses

Juveniles enter the court system if a complaint is brought against them for having committed a delinquency. If law enforcement believes there is probably cause the juvenile is guilty, he or she may be taken into custody. Law enforcement officials may release the juvenile to the parent or guardian if a complaint is not signed. If a complaint is signed before the juvenile is released, he or she may be sent to a secure detention facility while the case is referred to the court system and taken its course.

What Are Juvenile Offenses?

A juvenile offender, under state law, is described as a child or adolescent under 18 years of age. Delinquency of minors covers crimes such as assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and even murder. The laws also cover petty crimes such as truancy, violating penal statutes, shoplifting, and any other regulation or ordinance set by New Jersey state law.
Juvenile Crime Penalties

Since the interest of the law is focused on rehabilitating juvenile offenders, most juveniles are not formally charged with crimes. Exceptions to this are listed below.

  • Juvenile is close to 18 years old
  • History of behavior problems or previous offenses
  • Parent or guardian is not able to control the juvenile's behavior
  • Serious offense has been committed

Juveniles can face a range of penalties including imprisonment in adult institutions, placement in a juvenile facility or group, community service, attendance in a rehabilitative program, and probation. The type of punishment delivered is based on the type of crime committed and the juvenile's previous record.

Are Juvenile Records Sealed in NJ?

When juveniles commit a criminal offense, they obtain a record just like an adult. However, according to state law, these records should not be available to the public. Contacting a lawyer can ensure juvenile offenses are safe-guarded from public inspection. Records are not 100% sealed because they can be disclosed to the juvenile's school system and the victim's family. If the juvenile commits another crime, the records may be inspected as well.

Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers

The handling of a juvenile criminal defense case requires a certain skill set. The lawyer you choose must be able to handle a juvenile defendant and the court system. Many times juveniles and their parents will not admit guilt to their attorney. Additionally, there are rules regarding the court systems in these cases.

A lawyer is not always needed for juvenile cases, but for the sake of a child's future, an attorney should be consulted to protect your child's rights. Therefore, it is important, to get the best representation for juvenile offenses. Contact Daniel E. Berger, Esq., today for immediate assistance and a free consultation.