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What should a juvenile expect when facing criminal charges?

A criminal charge is a threat to your future, regardless of your age. Juvenile offenders, however, must be careful to take charges seriously as a conviction can greatly affect their future. If you are the parent of a New Jersey minor facing a criminal charge, it is in the interests of your child to act quickly to shield his or her freedom and rights.

Many people are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system and how it works. One thing that may be helpful for you and your family is to learn more about what to expect when facing juvenile charges. When you know what to expect and understand the implications of the charges, you will be able to build a defense strategy that is uniquely suited to your child’s needs and interests. 

What’s going to happen? 

When facing criminal charges, one of the most common concerns expressed by defendants is how this will affect their future. When it comes to your child, you naturally want to do everything possible to protect him or her, starting with knowing exactly what you are up against. Each case is different, but you can expect some or all of the following from a juvenile criminal case proceeding:

  • After the arrest of a juvenile, a court intake office will review the case to determine if further action, such as proceeding to court, if necessary.
  • After an arrest and depending on the charges, a juvenile offender may be held in a correctional facility specifically designed for minor offenders.
  • In cases involving particularly serious offenses, such as murder or attempted murder, the district attorney may decide to charge the juvenile as an adult.
  • A juvenile court proceeding is similar to a proceeding for an adult offender. If the juvenile admits to the crime, the court may require him or her to attend a treatment program.
  • A judge will hear the case and decide if the defendant committed the crime. He or she will make a ruling regarding a dismissal or conviction as well as sentencing.

It is overwhelming to navigate the juvenile justice system no matter what type of criminal charge your child is facing. You will find it beneficial to work with an experienced legal ally starting as soon as possible after an arrest. Your child deserves the support and guidance of a defense attorney who has his or her best interests in mind. Your child’s future is at stake, but you do not have to fight for it alone.