Traversing the Juvenile Justice System from Arrest to Rehabilitation

Minors Are Treated Differently in The Criminal Justice System, Always Aiming for Rehabilitation in Manalapan, Berkeley, Lakewood, Manasquan, and across Monmouth and Ocean County

The Route of Juvenile Police Process in Monmouth County, New JerseyAccording to New Jersey law, those under the age of 18 are considered minors or under the age of majority. The New Jersey criminal justice system handles offenses committed by minors differently than it does those committed by adults. If your child has been arrested for a crime in New Jersey, you need a juvenile criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact Bronzino Law Firm to immediately schedule a confidential and free consultation regarding their case and discuss their options.

Contrasting Juvenile and Adult Offenses in New Jersey

Juvenile delinquency is handled differently than adult offenses, primarily in that the justice system is more focused on rehabilitating the youth than incurring a punishment. As such, a police officer may engage in a variety of approaches to deal with a minor who engages in behavior that, as an adult, would be considered a criminal offense. The officer may conduct a ‘curbside adjustment,’ whereby they give the minor a warning at the scene of the delinquent behavior. If the behavior is more severe but still not technically illegal, or if the youth is a first-time offender of a minor crime, law enforcement may conduct a ‘stationhouse adjustment’ with parental and victim permission, whereby they take the minor to the police station and, instead of charging them with delinquency, may refer them for counseling or other corrective action. If a juvenile is arrested for delinquent behavior that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult, the family court handling the case is more likely to offer alternative rehabilitative options than punitive ones and certainly more leeway than an adult committing the crime would receive.

Determining the Course of Action in the Arrest Process for a Juvenile

In order for a juvenile to be arrested, a law enforcement officer or private citizen must file a complaint for delinquency, assuming they have probable cause for criminally delinquent behavior. Upon receiving the complaint, the Family Court, which handles juvenile cases, determines how it will move forward with the case. If a youth is arrested for criminal activity, they will move through an adjudication process unless the court determines another path of remedial action.

Leveraging  the “Use of Discretion” for Positive Outcomes

A law enforcement officer is entitled the ‘use of discretion’ in cases of juvenile delinquent behavior. They face the challenge of determining whether to move forward with a delinquency complaint and arrest, thus entering the minor into the criminal justice system, albeit the juvenile court, or they can use their discretion to deal a warning or recommend the minor for alternative punishment and rehabilitative practices.

The Role of Rehabilitation in Shaping NJ Juvenile Court Processes

Overall, the juvenile court process is more focused on rehabilitation for the youth where possible. On a procedural level, minors are released into parent or guardian custody until a trial in nearly all cases.

The Interplay of Various Factors Considered by Court Judges

The juvenile court judge, along with the arresting officer and victim, play a role in determining the outcome of a juvenile trial. The judge will consider the severity of the offense and how an adult would be charged for similar behavior. They also take into consideration whether the individual is dangerous to the community, their age and maturity, and their willingness to participate in remedial action such as community service, retribution, and support services like counseling.

Juvenile Arrest Process in Ocean County NJImpact of Offense Severity in NJ Juvenile Cases

The type of offense a youth commits is absolutely relevant to the outcome of the case. While the family court judge is more likely to recommend rehabilitative action, they may issue a more severe punishment if the behavior for which the arrest was made represents serious criminal behavior or if the youth is a repeat offender. For minor crimes, a judge may issue community service, counseling, or educational programs. More serious offenses may result in a sentence of incarceration in a juvenile detention center. However, even the most serious crimes committed by juveniles will result in sentences that are much less severe than adult sentences for similar crimes. Only in rare cases will a juvenile be tried as an adult and subject to the full force of the law.

Our Attorneys Offer Strong Representation for Minors in Ocean And Monmouth County Juvenile Courts

Juvenile delinquency is a serious issue in New Jersey with the potential for harsh and long-term consequences. Minors must be represented by an attorney in family court, and the quality of representation can impact their long-term outcomes. Our team at Bronzino Law Firm is committed to seeing our juvenile clients receive reduced sentences or complete dismissal of charges in Sea Bright, Middletown, Neptune, Eatontown, Mantoloking, Belmar Ocean Township, Point Pleasant, Stafford, and elsewhere in Ocean and Monmouth County. If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, we’ve got their back. Contact us today at (732) 812-3102 or complete the online form for a free and confidential consultation regarding your child’s case.