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Juveniles can be tried as adults in New Jersey

The adult criminal justice system is designed to punish offenders for criminal offenses and to deter others from similar behavior. On the other hand, the juvenile justice system is focused primarily on rehabilitation rather than punishment. That said, there are instances where a juvenile can be tried as an adult. When this happens, they will be treated in the same manner as an adult. The only exception is that a juvenile cannot get a life sentence without the possibility of parole, even when tried as an adult. Being tried as an adult may expose a juvenile to harsher penalties, such as lengthy prison sentences in adult facilities and permanent criminal records.

When can this happen?

In most cases, a juvenile case will be transferred to an adult criminal court if the charges involve a serious or violent offense such as criminal homicide, aggravated arson, sexual assault, kidnapping, first-degree robbery and carjacking, among others. The nature and circumstances of the offense also matter when determining whether to charge a minor as an adult. For instance, violent crimes against a person or the use or possession of a weapon during the course of the offense could lead to a trial as an adult. Prior records could also lead to a minor’s trial as an adult. If they have had several run-ins with the law and efforts to rehabilitate them have been futile, a juvenile can be tried as an adult if they are charged with a serious offense.

Protect your children’s future

Every parent wants the best for their kids. Therefore, it can be worrisome when your child is taken into custody and charged with a crime. Taking the proper legal steps when this happens could make a huge difference and safeguard your child’s future.

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