The worst nightmare for any parent is to see their child get into serious legal trouble. It can be a very stressful time for both the parents and the child, potentially leading to life-altering consequences for the child. In New Jersey state, juveniles under the age of 18 are typically treated with far more leniency by the courts compared to adults. However, this does not mean minors are completely immune from the same punishments as adults as far as New Jersey state laws are concerned. Depending on the severity of the crime, a child can be tried as an adult which may lead to a prison sentence and a criminal record that will stick with them for the rest of their life. If your child has recently been charged with a serious crime, please contact a Bergen County juvenile offense attorney at The Law Office of Attorney Conway to get the legal representation your child deserves.
In New Jersey, after a child is taken into custody by a police officer, they will be taken to family court where the Juvenile Conference Committee will hear their case. Based on the circumstances of the incident, if the committee believes the charges are serious enough, the case will be taken to adult criminal court. Once the case reaches adult criminal court, a minor will be tried as an adult and will be subject to the full extent of New Jersey state law regarding the punishments for their crimes.
While leniency is usually emphasized for minors when it comes to juvenile offenses, some crimes are considered to be far too severe to be treated lightly. There is a myriad of felony charges that a minor can be tried as an adult for such as carjacking, assault, sexual assault, drug trafficking, burglary, and murder. However, depending on the circumstances of some of these charges, they may not carry the same consequences as they normally would for adults. For example, when it comes to crimes like burglary, assault, and drug trafficking, these charges may not lead to jail time depending on the severity of the situation. Although this may not be the case for repeat offenders.
If a child is tried as an adult and is convicted of a felony, that means they can receive the same penalties that an adult would. In a case involving aggravated sexual assault, a minor could be facing up to 20 years in prison and a $200,000 fine. Depending on the situation, Carjacking charges could result in a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. Perhaps the most severe crime a minor could be convicted of is criminal homicide which may mean at least 30 years in prison, but it could also be escalated to a life sentence without a possibility of parole.