What is the Process of Juvenile Proceedings in New Jersey?

When a person under the age of 18 in New Jersey commits a crime, it is known as juvenile delinquency. This may happen if the child commits a criminal act, disorderly persons offense, petty disorderly persons offense, or a violation of a penal statute, ordinance, or regulation. In New Jersey, all juveniles must have legal representation when they are charged with a crime. If the child’s parents or their guardian cannot provide one, a public defender may be requested on their behalf. To learn more, continue reading below and contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.

What are Juvenile Proceedings?

During a juvenile case, the court has two main goals: holding the child accountable for their actions and rehabilitating them. This is done by determining if the individual committed the crime they are accused of. In some cases, depending on the nature of the crime, it is possible for the juvenile to be put into a juvenile facility. The court makes these decisions based on the nature of the crime, its severity, the age of the offender, and any prior record. The proceedings may take place in the following ways:

  • Juvenile Conference Committee or Intake Services Conference: The juvenile and their parents talk about the case with a trained citizen volunteer panel or a Judiciary staff person. This process is informal and does not determine delinquency. Recommendations will be made to a judge regarding consequences for approval. 
  • Juvenile referee/Informal court: A hearing takes place where the juvenile is expected to admit or deny the crime. The facts of the case will be reviewed to determine delinquency so that recommendations can be made to the judge. 
  • Judge/Formal court: A judge oversees a court hearing where the juvenile will plead guilty or not guilty, and the court can order a consequence for rehabilitation.

What Consequences Can a Juvenile Face?

If found guilty, a juvenile can face a variety of consequences for their actions. This can include the following:

  • Community service
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Release to a parent or guardian
  • Required support services or parental involvement
  • Residential mental health and/or substance abuse and alcohol treatment
  • Restitution
  • Transfer of custody
  • Secure confinement/incarceration
  • Suspended driver’s license
  • Work, outdoor, academic, and/or vocational programs

Contact our Firm

If you are facing criminal charges in New Jersey, you need strong legal defense. Contact the Law Office of Carl Spector for dedicated representation. With over 30 years of experience as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, he offers a unique perspective on how both sides think, and how to best approach each aspect of the case. When your future is on the line, don’t settle for less than the best possible legal representation. Contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight for you. Call today for a free confidential consultation. Let our experience work for you.