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Juvenile Criminal Penalties & Sentencing

If your child has been charged with a criminal offense, you probably want to know what the Juvenile Judge can do if the minor is found guilty. This is what is referred to as sentencing. The following is some of the more important information that you would like to know regarding what and how penalties may be imposed at the time of sentencing. For further guidance, do not hesitate to contact our Newark Office at 973-710-1520 to speak to an experienced juvenile defense attorney in Essex County.

What Can The Judge Do If The Juvenile Is Found Guilty?

The court has any of the following avenues of recourse in the event a child is found guilty of a criminal violation:
  • Adjourn the matter for a period of up to one year, commonly referred to as a deferred disposition. During that period that the matter is carried, the juvenile is to remain out of trouble. If the period is satisfactorily completed, the charge/complaint is dismissed;
  • Place the juvenile on probation;
  • Place the child under the care of the Department of Children and Families;
  • Enter an order requiring the minor to make restitution for any losses suffered as a result of his/her conduct;
  • Order the juvenile to perform a period of community service;
  • Place the defendant in a program, including but not limited to, one involving work (with or without compensation);
  • Order participation in counseling;
  • Commit the child for purposes of psychiatric counseling;
  • Place in the minor in a residential or nonresidential drug or alcohol treatment facility;
  • Remand the child to the custody of the Juvenile Justice Commission for placement in a group home or private residential facility;
  • Suspend the juvenile’s driver’s license and privileges to operate a motor vehicle;
  • Incarcerate the child in the appropriate Youth Detention Facility or impose any other conditions reasonably intended to rehabilitate the juvenile.

How Does A Judge Determine The Appropriate Sentence In a Juvenile Case?

In determining what the appropriate sentence should be, the Judge is supposed to consider several factors. The factors include:

  • Nature of the offense;
  • Damage and impact of the juvenile’s conduct on the victim;
  • Age, record, and prior services provided to the juvenile;
  • Impact of any disposition on the family and physical safety of the juvenile;
  • Whether the parent or guardian can reasonably participate in the disposition;
  • Physical, psychological, social, and other needs of the child;
  • Whether the disposition fosters continued development of the minor;
  • Impact of the offense on the community; and
  • Threat posed by the juvenile to the safety of the public and himself.

How Much Detention Time May The Court Order?

In accordance with New Jersey Law, a juvenile may be sentenced to up to twenty (20) years for murder, up to four (4) years for any other first degree crime, up to three (3) years for a second degree crime, up to two (2) years for a third degree crime, and up to six (6) months for a fourth degree crime.

Are There Any Restrictions On Who May Be Placed in Youth Detention?

Yes. A child that is eleven (11) or less years of age cannot be incarcerated unless they are convicted of a first degree crime, second degree crime or arson. A juvenile who is developmentally disabled cannot be placed in detention.

Is There A Presumption Against Incarceration That Applies?

Yes. It is presumed that a juvenile shall not be placed in detention if the conviction is for a fourth degree crime or disorderly persons offense and they child has never been previously found guilty of a crime or offense.

Essex County Juvenile Sentencing Attorneys

We are prepared to discuss the circumstances of your child’s case in more detail in a free initial consultation. A lawyer highly skilled inĀ defense of juvenile chargesĀ is available immediately to assist you at 973-710-1520.