What is the Court Process for a Juvenile Offender In NJ?

While juvenile cases are handled differently that those of adult offenders, your son, daughter, or other loved one could be facing some serious consequences. Additionally, the process for a juvenile offender (someone aged 18 or younger) is very different from that of an adult. When a juvenile is being charged with a crime, it is important to have an experienced New Jersey juvenile law attorney on your side that understands the laws as they apply to your specific case.

In New Jersey, juveniles who are charged as delinquents must be processed through Family Court. There are specific time limitations set on how long a juvenile can be held in detention. According to the NJ office of the Attorney General’s website, these times are:

  1. An initial detention hearing must be held within 24 hours of admission.
  2. For juveniles remanded to a detention facility, the initial probable cause hearing and second detention hearing must be held within two court days. If probable cause is not found, the juvenile is released from detention pending an adjudicator hearing.
  3. Review hearings are held for detained juveniles at intervals of 14 and 21 days. At each hearing, the judge reevaluates the detention status of the juvenile.
  4. At the adjudicator hearing, the court makes a determination on the charges. A juvenile may be judged delinquent on one or more of the charges. After a verdict of delinquency, the judge will order a disposition.
  5. In cases where the juvenile is detained, the disposition hearing must occur within 60 court days of admission to detention unless extended by the court.

In New Jersey, probation is often ordered in juvenile matters, along with financial restitution or community service for minor offences. For major offences, short of committing offenders to the adult system, the most severe punishment available to the Family Court is incarceration in the Juvenile Justice Commission.

Juvenile delinquency cases are complex matters. Don’t leave the freedom of your young loved ones up to chance. We can help your loved one avoid incarceration, opt for probation, and keep his or her juvenile record clean. Contact an experienced New Jersey juvenile crime attorney at Aiello, Harris, Abate, Law Group PC online or at (908) 561-5577.