Criminal acts can be learned at a young age. Although these juveniles may be just children, they should still be held accountable for their actions. They can face penalties for their crimes just as adults can. Their cases should be heard and consequences should be given in order to show that their crime should not be repeated. By providing them with penalties for their crime, it may be able to stop this kind of behavior in their future. They may still be able to turn their lives around for the better. If someone below the age of 18 commits a crime, they are considered to be a juvenile. If they turn 18 years old during their trial, they can still be charged as a juvenile. Their juvenile charge depends on what age they were when the act was committed.
How do juvenile cases proceed?
Instead of having juvenile cases heard in court, they take place in another location. These cases are more private due to the young age of the individual. The court system tries to protect their identity since they are minors. Juvenile cases can be heard in the family division of the Superior Court where only a judge presides over their case. There is no jury present to hear the case and decide if the juvenile is guilty. This is arranged because the identity of the child should be protected.
Once a juvenile is arrested for their acts, a prosecutor will file a petition against the child for their wrongdoing and then there will be a fact-finding trial. This is served in family court to find out more facts about the situation and reveal if the juvenile is guilty or not. The allegations against the child will be heard and details about the case will be presented. If the judge finds that there is a lack of evidence, they can decide to dismiss the case and set the juvenile free. If there is evidence that supports a crime done by the juvenile, the judge may arrange a dispositional hearing where more penalties will be discussed. During juvenile cases, judges have the power to elevate the juvenile’s charge to an adult charge depending on the nature of the crime. This will cause the juvenile to enter into a regular courtroom as an adult would instead of family court. Penalties can be harsher for a juvenile that is tried as an adult.
Our firm understands how serious criminal and personal injury cases are. We are prepared to guide you towards a favorable outcome. If you are in need of experienced legal counsel in New Jersey, please contact The Law Office of Andrew S. Maze today for any criminal and personal injury matters.