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Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers Serving all of NJ

If your child or a child of a relative or friend has been arrested and charged with a crime, that child needs a New Jersey juvenile crime attorney. The juvenile criminal justice system differs significantly from the criminal justice system that handles charges filed against adults. If your child has been charged with a criminal offense, contact the New Jersey juvenile crime attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo. Among the juvenile crime lawyers at the firm are a former New York prosecutor and the juvenile criminal defense lawyers at the firm have appeared in criminal cases for decades in state and municipal courts throughout New Jersey. The conviction for a juvenile offense can negatively impact the child’s educational and employment opportunities both in the near term and his/her future. Your child needs a juvenile crime lawyer to stand with them.

As in the case of crimes committed by adults, conviction for a juvenile criminal offense in New Jersey can lead to jail time, fines, probation, etc. However, the juvenile criminal justice system differs from the adult criminal justice system in that while adult criminal justice is punitive in nature, the juvenile justice system focuses more on rehabilitating and instilling a sense of personal responsibility in the juvenile offender.

Procedurally, the juvenile justice system is very different from the criminal justice system. Initially, the juvenile offender must be represented by a lawyer. If the family cannot afford a lawyer, they may apply for court appointed counsel. Any trial conducted in family court (where juvenile cases are heard) is tried before a judge only; there are no jury trials.

If the juvenile is under 15, the case must be heard in family court. However, if the child is charged with a serious and/or violent crime, the prosecutor may try to waive the case to the criminal court. The final decision is made by the family court judge administering the case.

If the juvenile offender is placed in a detention facility, a hearing must be held within two days. If still in detention, another hearing is held in 14 days and subsequent detention hearings, if necessary, are conducted every 21 days thereafter.

The juvenile must have an attorney present at those hearings.

A juvenile can be charged with any offense which, if committed by an adult, would be considered a crime. Common juvenile offenses include:

  • Assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism (criminal mischief)
  • Trespass
  • Drug possession

Once a juvenile offender is charged with a crime, consistent with the overriding concern for rehabilitation in the juvenile justice system, there are several alternatives to trial and jailing a juvenile offender. The juvenile may participate in a Juvenile Conference Committee (JCC) or an Intake Services Conference (ICS). There is also a program referred to as Juvenile Referee/Informal Court. In any of these programs, the juvenile offender and prosecutor, with the consent of the family court judge, can agree to alternative resolutions such as community service, probation, a diversion program, release of the juvenile to his/her parent or guardian, mental health treatment (for alcohol or drug dependence, for example) or restitution.

If your child has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, contact the juvenile crime lawyers at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo. We will be your child’s strongest advocate in family court and stand by your child and your family as fight for your child’s future well-being.

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