Juvenile Delinquency Defense Lawyer

     New Jersey has a very complex and unique judicial system for juveniles / minors.  Any crime committed by someone under 18 years old will be adjudicated as Juvenile Delinquency.  This means that if a minor was caught selling drugs, or assaulting someone, the charge will be for Delinquency not for the predicate offense (Distribution or Assault for instance).

    Even so, being convicted for Juvenile Delinquency can carry just as serious and in some cases more serious penalties than the predicate offenses, including years in prison, fines, and a criminal record.

Can I fight my Juvenile Delinquency Charge?

     To properly defend your NJ Delinquency case you must be intimately familiar with all aspects of a criminal trial.  From disproving elements of the States case, to having evidence suppressed.   With over 40 years experience as a Judge, Prosecutor, and Criminal Defense Lawyer, the Attorney's of Avery & Avery know how to keep you out of trouble.  As Criminal Defense Lawyers, we have mastered the identification of flaws in the States case, and will work with you to either avoid a criminal conviction, or have the case thrown out completely.  

What are the Penalties?

     The penalties for Juvenile Delinquency in NJ depend on many factors, as laid out here.  The courts sentencing authority generally mirrors that of the crime as if committed by an adult, but also broader remedies available to it than a typical adult court.  The following is a list of some common setences:

  • Prison - Up to 4 Years depending on the Predicate Offense.
  • Termination of Parental Rights - Custody Hearing
  • Order Parents / Guardians to participate in ‘parenting’ classes
  • Suspend or postpone driving priveleges for up to 2 years.
  • Mandatory Participation in Social Programs (Boy Scouts, Etc)
  • Mandatory Participation in Work Programs
  • Commitment to a Mental Health Institution
  • Order Community Service 
  • Up to 3 Years of Probation
  • Restitution Orders
  • Fines

One of the more serious issues with NJ Juvenile Delinquency charges is a criminal record.   Expungement’s are not automatic and convictions may result in difficulty obtaining a job or obtaining a college acceptance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sort of punishment and penalties should I expect?

     The answer depends on what the punishment is for the crime if committed by an adult.  The greater gradation of the predicate offense (what the charge would be if the offender were not a minor), the greater the possible penalty.  The court has the authority to order the above listed sentences.  

     For more information on what you should expect, please call for a free consultation at 201-943-2445. You can also check out our other resources, such as this reproduction of NJSA 2A:4A-43, the sentencing guidelines for juvenile offenses.  Also you may see here, for the guidelines of NJSA 2A:4A-44, which apply in cases where incarceration is anticipated.

If convicted, do I have to answer job applications that I have been arrested or convicted of a crime?

A minor may say they have never been arrested even without expungement as it is technically not an arrest, but for the safety of the child.  This interpretation has been formalized in N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-31.  They may additionally say that they have never been convicted of a crime.

Can I be charged with both Juvenile Delinquency and the underlying offense?

     In general all charges shall be automatically converted into Juvenile Delinquency and referred to the County Superior Court.

If they have caught me and there are no defenses, what can I do?

     In some situations the police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  In these tough situations, the goal is to limit any punishments, and we are often still able to have charges dismissed or commuted.  

I have a prior record and have been convicted for Juvenile Delinquency before, but in another state, how does this affect the case?

     Having a prior record is one of the factors Judge’s are mandated to consider in determining punishments.  If the prior offense would constitute a crime in NJ, a court will likely count it as a prior and be more inclined to impose greater than the minimum penalties.  This could mean a large difference in the sentence.  If you have a prior record, no matter the State, the stakes become much greater and it is imperative you contact an Experienced NJ Criminal Defense Attorney.

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