Was your child arrested for committing a robbery, burglary, shoplifting or other theft offenses?  Perhaps he or she hasn’t been charged yet and the situation is only still in what they term the investigation stage? Irrespective of the scenario, if your juvenile is facing a charge based on stealing something, you should take action to insure that their future is protected. They don’t need an unwanted conviction and certainly do not want to be subjected to consequences like confinement at juvenile detention. The best way for you to avoid a poor outcome with the theft charge is clearly to find an attorney to represent your son/daughter that really knows how to handle proceedings in the Juvenile Division in Newark NJ. That is what you can achieve with our firm as we feature a legal staff of defense lawyers who are not only former prosecutors, but also possess decades of experience effectively defending children. Call our Newark Office at 973-710-1520 so that we may discuss how we can help you in a free initial consultation.


One of the more serious crimes our team is often retained to handle in Juvenile Court are robbery charges. If a robbery is committed with a deadly weapon, threat thereof, or involves infliction of serious bodily injury, it is a first degree crime, the highest grade of criminal offense under NJ Law. This is the case irrespective of the value of the item sought to be taken, a cell phone or small piece of jewelry will suffice. And second degree robbery, that is, a theft accomplished with force or threat of force, is still a second degree crime.


When a child enters a structure without permission to commit a theft or other crime, that is what is referred to as burglary. It is important to keep in mind that the term “structure” under the New Jersey Burglary Law is defined broadly to include not only a house, commercial building, school or the like, but also a car. In fact, child being charged with car burglary is almost as common as breaking and entering in a house, in Juvenile Court in Essex County. Burglary is usually a third degree crime unless the intent for entering the school, house, etc., is to inflict or threaten to cause bodily injury or the same occurs following entry, in which case the charge is enhanced to a second degree crime. Criminal mischief is a common companion offense to a burglary charge.


Shoplifting covers a broad range of potential grades of crime. If a child steals merchandise with a value of less than $200, it is a disorderly persons offense. Any theft involving merchandise with a value of $200 or more, is a felony with $200-$499 a fourth degree crime, $500-$74,999 a third degree crime, and $75,000 or more a second degree crime.

Potential Penalties for Theft Violations in Juvenile Court

Generally, there are no fines that are imposed in the Juvenile Division. What a parent and child are therefore largely confronted with in resolving a theft charge, whether it be by way of plea or trial, is what level of supervision shall be involved as a result of a conviction. In terms of probation, the term can be as limited as what is referred to as a deferred disposition where the parent essentially acts as the supervisor or can result in formal probation for a number of years with routine monitoring, drug testing and other conditions. The court may also sentence a child to detention, the juvenile systems version of jail. The potential jail term for a first degree crime is 4 years, 3 years for a second degree crime, 2 years for a third degree crime and 1 year for a fourth degree crime.

Can My Child Be Waived Up To Adult Court?
While it is unusual to be confronted with a motion to waive a child to adult court and tried as an adult with burglary charges, the same is not true when it comes to robbery. Prosecutors often threaten or actually move to have a child treated as an adult, something that can have dramatic ramifications, when the offense is robbery, particularly where it is a first degree. For more information on the rules for trying a child as an adult, click here.

If you would like to speak to one of our Juvenile Defense Attorneys about representation or if you have more detailed questions regarding a juvenile theft or robbery charge, call us at 973-710-1520. The initial consultation is free of charge.