A juvenile offense can include any crime that an adult may commit, but the violator is under the age of 18. Because of their age, they are tried under juvenile law. The juvenile justice system works under the premise that children should be treated differently than adults. Usually, the system will be more flexible in the case of a child. The goal is to reintegrate them into society as potentially productive members.
The good news is, according to the US Department of Justice, juvenile crimes have declined since 2010. By 2019, juvenile arrest rates for larceny-theft, burglary, and arson were at their lowest levels since at least 1980.
The bad news is that if your child is arrested or detained, parents have to consider the range of punishments that depend on the severity of the crime and, even worse, being tried as an adult. Contacting an experienced juvenile crime attorney, like The Law Office of Andrew Maze, may be the best strategy for a favorable outcome.
Factors Contributing to Juvenile Crime
- Poor educational attendance and standards- Children who live in underfunded school districts and do not have parents involved in school work and related activities tend to be those who are likely to commit a crime. Additionally, children who do not attend school regularly do not learn or develop a routine that is important for self-value and goal accomplishment.
- Violence in the home and social circles- Children exposed to violence at home and/or live in violent neighborhoods have a tendency to become delinquent.
- Peer pressure- Children who have friends that commit crimes are more likely to do so to fit into the group.
- Socioeconomic factors- Children who live in poorer communities are more likely to commit crimes, sometimes to just survive.
- Substance abuse- Children exposed to substance abuse do not have the parenting necessity to grow and thrive. Without guidance and support, they are more likely to be delinquent.
- No moral guidance- When a child does not have guidance, it is difficult for them to learn acceptable behavior which tends to contribute to delinquency.
Juvenile Justice System
Many experts believe that children should be treated as children and not incarcerated in adult prisons. The goal is to hold them accountable for their actions, rehabilitate them, and prevent them from future delinquency. Studies consistently find that treating juvenile offenders as adults is inappropriate, harmful to their development, and ineffective as a deterrent (Peerman, Daugherty, Hoornstra, & Beydler, 2014; Redding, 2010). Adolescents have underdeveloped maturity and do not act appropriately in specific situations. In many cases, they tend to act impulsively, and are more susceptible to peer influence. A justice system that prosecutes juveniles as adults is often found to be ineffective and harmful. Child offenders need positive and appropriate redirection. For juveniles, multisystemic therapy is a better solution. Programs that are family and community-based treatment programs for adolescents help reduce delinquency. Such programs involve bullying prevention, civil engagement, afterschool programs, health programs, dating violence prevention, and employment opportunities.
In New Jersey, a child must have representation. The court will assign a public defender if the family can not afford one. The parent or guardian is notified of the proceedings and other relevant information.
If your child is facing a juvenile criminal matter, you will need an experienced attorney, especially if the judge decides the juvenile should be tried as an adult. It’s important that you have an experienced attorney like Andrew S. Maze, Esq. to fight for a juvenile’s case to be treated as so. If you need a skilled attorney for a child court, contact our firm today.