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10 Common Charges and Penalties in New Jersey Juvenile Delinquency Cases

March 1, 2024 | Posted In Juvenile Law

Juveniles charged with violating the law in New Jersey can face steep penalties. While New Jersey’s juvenile justice system is intended to focus on reform, juveniles who are “adjudicated delinquent” can face harsh sentences that have significant and long-term negative impacts on their lives. Avoiding unnecessary consequences requires an informed and proactive defense strategy, and this makes it important to speak with an experienced New Jersey juvenile lawyer as soon as possible.

This is true regardless of the specific charge (or charges) you or your child is facing. While the risks associated with certain charges are greater than others, all juvenile delinquency cases need to be taken very seriously. Along with the penalties discussed below, simply having a juvenile record of any kind can make it much more difficult to get into school or start a career in the future.

10 Common Charges in New Jersey Juvenile Delinquency Cases

In New Jersey, juveniles can face all of the same charges as adults. The distinctions between juvenile delinquency cases and adult criminal cases lie in how these cases are handled following an arrest. With this in mind, some of the most common charges in New Jersey juvenile delinquency cases include:

  • Aggravated Assault – Aggravated assault is a serious offense that carries substantial penalties for both juveniles and adults. Additionally, while most types of juvenile offenses are subject to disclosure restrictions under New Jersey law, the law provides no protection for adjudications of aggravated assault.
  • Computer and Internet Crimes – Juvenile delinquency cases involving computer and internet crimes are becoming increasingly common. This includes cases involving crimes such as credit card fraud, cyberbullying, stalking, identity theft and hacking.
  • Drug Possession – Drug possession has long been among the most common charges in juvenile delinquency cases. Police officers routinely arrest juveniles who are caught in possession of marijuana, prescription medications and other drugs.
  • Hit-and-Run – In New Jersey, anyone who is involved in a car accident is required to stop at the scene of the collision. Anyone who doesn’t stop at the scene can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, or what is more commonly known as hit-and-run.
  • Parole and Probation Violations – Juveniles who are already on parole or probation can face serious consequences if they violate the terms of their conditional release. Not only can they be placed into juvenile detention, but they can potentially face additional charges as well.
  • Robbery – Robbery is another serious offense that carries substantial penalties for both juveniles and adults. In robbery cases, ensuring a clear and accurate understanding of all relevant facts is critical for executing an effective defense strategy.
  • Sexual Assault – Sexual assault charges are common in juvenile delinquency cases as well, particularly in cases involving high school students and college students who are under age 18. Along with the various penalties discussed below, sexual assault adjudications can have a variety of other serious (and potentially life-changing) consequences as well.
  • Theft – Theft offenses, including shoplifting, vary in terms of their potential risks—with a key factor being the value of the property involved. However, in all cases, juveniles charged with theft crimes can face liability for restitution in addition to the additional penalties listed below.
  • Trespassing and Vandalism – Trespassing and vandalism charges are common for juveniles of all ages. Similar to theft charges, the risks involved usually depend on the consequences of the delinquent conduct—including the value of any property that was damaged.  
  • Weapons Offenses – Juveniles who possess firearms without the requisite license or permit can face serious charges. Unlawfully discharging firearms and illegally possessing other weapons can lead to serious charges as well.

10 Common Penalties in New Jersey Juvenile Delinquency Cases

Just like adults charged with criminal offenses, juveniles charged with these (and other) violations of the law can face a variety of potential penalties. However, a key difference between adult and juvenile cases is that juvenile sentences are supposed to reflect the “best interests” of the child involved. Even so, juvenile sentences are often extremely punitive, with common sentences including:

  • Community Service – Juveniles may receive community service sentences ranging from several hours to several weeks.
  • Driver’s License Suspension – In certain juvenile delinquency cases, juveniles can lose their driver’s license for up to two years.
  • Fines – Just like adults, juveniles can face substantial fines for all types of offenses.
  • Mandatory Parental Involvement – In some juvenile cases, the judge may mandate that the juvenile’s parents play an active role in ensuring a juvenile’s compliance with the other penalties imposed.
  • Mandatory Vocational or Educational Programs – Judges in New Jersey can sentence juveniles to mandatory participation in vocational, educational, work and outdoor programs.
  • Mental Health or Substance Abuse Treatment – Judges can sentence juveniles to mandatory mental health treatment when they determine that such treatment is warranted, and judges can sentence juveniles to mandatory substance abuse treatment in cases involving drug or alcohol use.
  • Placement in the Custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) – When deemed necessary to serve a juvenile’s best interests, the juvenile can be placed in the custody of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF).
  • Placement in Juvenile Detention – When placement with the New Jersey DCF would not adequately serve its intended purpose or would otherwise be inappropriate under the circumstances at hand, a juvenile may be placed in a detention center instead. The duration of detention depends on the severity of the charge (or charges) involved.
  • Probation – Juveniles may be sentenced to up to three years of probation in lieu of juvenile detention.
  • Restitution – Juveniles can be ordered to pay restitution when they are determined to have caused financial harm or other loss to victims.

Schedule an Appointment with a New Jersey Juvenile Lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

Do you need to know more about facing juvenile delinquency charges in New Jersey? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly. Please call 877-435-6371 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with a New Jersey juvenile lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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