The last thing a parent wants to hear their child has been accused of committing a criminal offense. If you're in this situation, you probably understand what's at stake. You want your child to receive all that their future has to offer without the limitations of a criminal record. All the more reason why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you through this difficult time.
In this article, the Lento Law Firm will provide you with an overview of the law governing juvenile delinquency in Burlington City.
Understanding Juvenile Offenses in Burlington County
There are two parts of the justice system: the juvenile offender system for minors and the criminal justice system for adults. New Jersey's Code of Juvenile Justice examines the apparent conceptual distinctions between juvenile charges and adult charges in several capacities. For one, the process is entirely different. Juvenile offenders, or “adjudicated delinquents,” as New Jersey calls them, are not arrested; rather, they are taken into custody. Also, minors who commit crimes will be granted a degree of leniency in court that adult defendants could only wish for. All due to the fact that juveniles aren't deemed as “criminals” regardless of the crimes they may commit.
According to Code guidelines, a judge's sentence regarding a juvenile offense is supposed to be based on the following objectives:
- Preserve the family by coming up with solutions that protect and aid in the development of juveniles within the court's jurisdiction
- Remove children committing delinquent criminal behavior and place them in a program of supervision, care, and rehabilitation
- Secure care, guidance, and control, preferably in their own home, of children within the jurisdiction of the court
- Foster the protection of the community, accountability for criminal conduct, and development of children as productive and responsible citizens
The guidelines for the juvenile process drastically differ from those of the criminal courts in Burlington County. In fact, the majority of Burlington County juvenile cases are heard in family court instead of criminal courts. This is because juvenile proceedings are primarily designed to rehabilitate and reform minors of criminal behavior whereas criminal courts aim to punish wrongdoers.
Burlington County Juvenile Proceedings
A number of hearings will be conducted once a delinquency complaint is filed. If the case ultimately must be tried, a Burlington County family court judge will act as both a finder of fact and a finder of the law. Minors do not have a right to a jury in New Jersey, so the judge will make the final call.
Juvenile delinquency cases that transpired in Burlington County will be heard at the Burlington County Family Court. This court is closed, which means that only people who were directly involved in the crime are permitted to attend. Records of juvenile proceedings are to remain confidential.
Although most juvenile delinquency verdicts consist of more lenient sentences and penalties than the criminal court, judges still have the ability to impose severe penalties. In extreme cases, penalties may include custody and detention in a juvenile detention center.
We're Here to Help
It is important to note that although the circumstances surrounding juvenile offenses are distinct from criminal justice processes, it doesn't mean these crimes won't have a significant impact on a minor's future.
Being an adjudicated delinquent in New Jersey warrants repercussions that can follow minors into their adulthood. Finding the right attorney to handle your child's case is half the battle for a favorable outcome. Contact the Lento Law Firm today for representation at 888-535-3686.