NJ Juvenile Delinquency Defense Lawyer

     In New Jersey, any crime committed by a minor (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 Juvenile 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 Lawyers, the Attorneys of Avery & Avery know how to keep you out of trouble.  As experienced NJ Juvenile Delinquency Lawyers, we have mastered the identification of flaws in the States case, and will work with you to avoid a conviction.

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 judicial record.   Expungements 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 was not a minor), the greater the possible penalty.  The court has the authority to order the above listed sentences.  At a minimum in cases involving perosnal injury or property damage, restitution is usually ordered. 

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

What happens when a child (minor) commits a disorderly or petty disorderly crime?

In the case where the juvenile did not commit an indictable offense, and the DP or PDP offense is not repetitive or continuing issue, the Attorney General has promulgated a directive that ordinarily a charge should not be filed.  These are generally called Curbside Warnings and Stationhouse Adjustments.  Usually they involve warnings of what will happen in the future and the involvement of parents or guardians.

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

Someone convicted in NJ for juvenile delinquency may say they have never been arrested, even without expungement, as this is technically not an arrest, rather it was an action 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.  In either event you can greatly benefit from being represented by a Criminal Defense Attorney from our team of Juvenile Delinquency Defense Lawyers

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 Juvenile Delinquency Lawyer.

My son / daughter was charged for Juvenile Delinquency, how does this affect me?

In most cases it won’t.  In more severe cases, or in instances where the child has been in continual trouble, the court, the Division of Youth and Family Services, or the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly DYFS) may get involved and in severe cases are able to conduct guardianship proceedings effectively terminating parental rights.

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