Juvenile Law FAQs

Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Juvenile Law

A juvenile charge of underage alcohol possession or shoplifting may not sound menacing, but a conviction can have negative effects on a child's future. Having a record at a young age can create problems for obtaining a job or enrolling in college. Sutnick & Sutnick Attorneys at Law has extensive experience with cases involving youths and adolescents. Our juvenile defense lawyers know how the juvenile legal system works and can offer insightful help in common juvenile cases, ensuring your child's best interests.

What Does A Juvenile Defense Lawyer Do?

A juvenile law attorney represents juveniles who have been charged with crimes, minors typically under the age of 18, who are too young to be held accountable in a criminal court for their acts. Juvenile cases are heard in Family Court. Charges can include underage drinking, drug possession, assaults and more. An attorney will consider their age, situation and be on the side of the child in court. Juvenile offenders are typically subject to different laws and procedures than adults charged with the same crime.

What Is The Court Process For A Juvenile Offender?

The juvenile court process differs greatly from adult court with rehabilitation being emphasized over punishment. There is also more flexibility in proceedings and sentencing options.

When a minor is charged with a crime or offense, police may detain the juvenile and hold him/her in custody at a detention center or release him/her to the custody of their parents or guardian. The child's parents or guardians are notified immediately. If held in custody, a hearing is generally scheduled for the next day to decide if custody is appropriate.

The juvenile court determines where a case should proceed. Some cases are heard by probation officers or hearing officers. Other cases proceed directly to the Superior Court judge assigned to handle juvenile matters.

Should I obtain an attorney for my child even if the court notice doesn't require that I hire one?

Yes. It is important that your child obtain the best outcome possible and an experienced attorney can do that. An attorney who regularly goes to juvenile court knows the realistic and best outcomes for every situation and can fight for your child in court. If a dismissal is possible, an experienced attorney will help put your child on a path to dismissal.

Should I consult an attorney right away or wait until the court schedules my child's case?

Consult with an experienced attorney right away. There may be actions a parent can take that will help in the final resolution of the case. A court generally wants to know that a parent is parenting and taking the situation seriously. Also, many times, being in trouble at home, is the most effective deterrent to future risky criminal behavior.

Are Juvenile Records Public In New Jersey?

Records for minors are sealed documents. However, a skilled lawyer can begin the expungement process to "clear" the juvenile's record once he or she reaches a certain age.

Are Juvenile Records Sealed When You Turn 18?

Juvenile records in New Jersey are sealed documents. Once the defendant is no longer a juvenile, an experienced attorney can initiate the process to expunge a juvenile record.

Does a Juvenile Record Show Up On A Background Check?

New Jersey expungement law gives a person who was arrested as a child a chance to have criminal records expunged.

Can Juvenile Records Be Expunged or Sealed?

Yes. An experienced attorney can initiate the process to expunge a juvenile record.

Must I Disclose A Juvenile Record In A Job Interview Or On A Job Application?

Juvenile records in New Jersey are sealed, therefore should not have to be disclosed.

Does A Juvenile Record Affect A College Application?

Poor choices made as a minor should not have to follow you through life. It is important to read the application questions carefully and consult with your attorney. Generally, disclosure of a juvenile case is not necessary.

Help Your Child Today With A Free Attorney Consultation

If your child has been arrested, the most crucial thing you need to do is consult with an experienced juvenile defense lawyer. We can help strive for your child's best, most lenient outcome. Call us at 201-212-4532, or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.