When a child commits a crime in New Jersey, they can be arrested or detained. Although children make mistakes, parents must face the reality that their child has committed a crime and the consequences of that crime can be as simple as writing an essay for misdemeanor crimes to possibly being tried as an adult for felonies. New Jersey judges have a lot of leeway when deciding how to handle a juvenile case.

A person under the age of 18 in New Jersey is considered a juvenile. If the person commits a crime and turns 18 during the course of a trial, they are still considered a juvenile. In extremely serious cases such as assault and murder, courts can try a juvenile as an adult. In some of the less serious cases, a juvenile case is heard in the family division of the Superior Court.

In juvenile cases, the parents of the child will get a notice from the Superior Court describing the charges, court procedures and other information pertaining to the charges. Simple cases are sometimes referred to the Juvenile Conference Committee, who are citizen volunteers appointed by a Family Division judge to act on the court’s behalf. Other cases can be referred to a judicial referee, who is an attorney that sits in for a judge and acts on the court’s behalf with the same legal authority.

In all juvenile cases, the child must have representation that has their best interests in mind. As soon as parents get a notice from the court, they should speak with an attorney. If there are provable monetary considerations, the state must provide a public defender. New Jersey is strict and if either parent is employed, they will most likely not be eligible for assistance. It is important to note that public defenders usually have very high caseloads and are not able to devote the kind of time and energy that a juvenile criminal defense attorney can when defending a child for any kind of criminal charge.

Attorney Joel Silberman has defended many children facing adult trials and whenever possible, succeeded in having them downgraded to a family court matter. We can consult with prosecutors, obtain the state’s evidence and assess the case to effectively represent the interests of your child. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help protect your child’s rights and assess your family’s options. Call the Law Offices of Joel Silberman, LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey at 201-273-7070 or 800-889-3129 or email joel@joelsilbermanlaw.com.