When juveniles get into trouble with the law, they are putting their futures at risk. Most juvenile crimes are the same as adult crimes, but there are important differences that you should be aware of, especially when it comes to how the law treats young people.
The Juvenile Process
A juvenile is typically anyone under the age of 18. Juveniles who are charged with a crime of any nature will, at first, be brought into family court. Typically, when this occurs, the minor will not be released on bail and will not be entitled to a trial by jury. This means the juvenile will go before a family court judge who will render a final verdict.
However, if the actions of the juvenile were so severe that they mirrored those of an adult or the juvenile engaged in egregious behavior (e.g. murder, armed robbery, a sex crime, etc.), the case will go to adult criminal court, he will be tried as an adult, and he will have all of the constitutional protections and rights that go along with being tried there.
The Unanticipated Fallout of a Juvenile Conviction
Contrary to popular belief, a juvenile conviction does not get erased when a minor grows up. In fact, colleges and employers not only inquire into juvenile backgrounds, but they usually can get access to a juvenile record. This means that your child’s future is in jeopardy. After all, even a minor conviction for a youthful indiscretion can stain a person’s record, block acceptance to a university, or prevent one from landing a good job.
Here at Rosenblum Law, we are keenly aware that certain prosecutors may be overly aggressive with your son or daughter and may even attempt to lock them away. This is why we will fight to make sure that your child gets a second chance and is not put behind bars.
The Focus of Juvenile Court is on Rehabilitation
Although being charged with a juvenile crime is extremely frightening for the entire family, it is vital to understand that juvenile court is designed to rehabilitate young offenders. Thus, a judge can choose to divert the case to a Juvenile Conference Committee or take other rehabilitative measures to resolve the case through restitution, community service, or job placement.
However, in the criminal court system, the emphasis is on punishment. A conviction there could result in your child being sentenced to a term in adult prison. Imagine your son or daughter being placed in a prison filled with real adults who were convicted of potentially worse crimes. This is why Rosenblum Law does all that it can to keep your case in family court.
You ought to be aware of the fact that there are enhanced penalties for juveniles who commit certain crimes. Some offenses will automatically be elevated in severity simply due to the fact that a juvenile committed them. For example, if a juvenile strikes a teacher or police officer, he will automatically be charged with aggravated assault, not simple assault.
Moreover, a juvenile accused of possessing marijuana or any other controlled dangerous substance (CDS) can face a mandatory fine and the loss of his driver’s license. Similarly, graffiti charges carry with them penalties that include the loss of one’s driver’s license. Ultimately, it is crucial to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney who is ready to do battle with any prosecutor who tries to take away your child’s liberty.
Expunge Juvenile Records
A person who has a juvenile record may be eligible to have the record expunged. By expunging the record, a person can legally deny that the crime and conviction occurred. This means it need not be disclosed on most applications and interviews for housing, jobs, financial aid and college admission. Read more about how to get a juvenile record expunged in New Jersey.
Who Should I Contact?
If you, your child, or a loved one was charged with a crime inNew Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of Rosenblum Law today. Mr. Rosenblum is a skilled criminal defense attorney who has helped people in similar situations. He will defend your constitutional rights, fight to keep you out of jail, and do what he can to have your criminal charges dismissed. E-mail or call him today at 888-815-3649.