Juvenile Crime Defense in Hackensack
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It is especially important to speak with an attorney if you are a juvenile or are the parent of a juvenile charged with a crime. A juvenile may be charged with the same crimes as adults. The distinction that is critical for a juvenile is whether they will be charged as adults, and thus face adult consequences, or whether they will be charged as juveniles and face juvenile consequences. The consequences of being charged and convicted as an adult mean longer jail time, tougher sentences, fewer options for diversion and a public criminal record.
The factors involved in whether to certify a defendant as an adult include:
- The severity of the crime alleged to have been committed
- Other criminal history
- The age of the juvenile and proximity to 18
Of course, the more serious the charge a juvenile is facing and the closer they are to 18, the higher the risks.
Juveniles Have Additional Protections
A juvenile has additional legal protection in addition to the other protections afforded to adults. Juvenile criminal records are kept confidential, except in some subsequent criminal proceedings. A juvenile generally faces fewer criminal consequences and the focus is more on rehabilitation and diversion than incarceration.
But, most importantly of all, a juvenile cannot be questioned by police without the consent of a parent. And in the process of giving consent for a minor to speak with police, parents and guardians often make the same mistakes that defendants do when dealing with police. Parents and guardians want their children to be responsible for their actions, but minors have a right to decline speaking with police and answering their questions and should request a lawyer.
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