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Hightstown NJ Juvenile Attorney

It can be very frightening to find out your child has been arrested. You may be feeling anxious, angry and unsure of what you need to do to protect your child against a juvenile charge in Hightstown. What we can unequivocally advise you is that the best thing you can do is consult an experienced Mercer County Juvenile Attorney. Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our defense lawyers are seasoned litigators who have over 100 years of combined experience dealing with the Juvenile Unit of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office on behalf of juveniles charged with a criminal offenses. We have helped hundreds of juveniles get their lives back on track and avoid having a permanent record. An attorney with extensive knowledge of juvenile laws and the skill set necessary to ensure your child has thorough legal defense is ready to assist you by contacting our office for a free consultation. A lawyer on our defense team can assist in the defense of whatever juvenile offense your child may be facing, including:

  • Drug charges;
  • Robbery;
  • Assault;
  • Sex offenses;
  • Criminal mischief;
  • Waiver and retention hearings; and
  • Weapons violations.

So, while it can be extremely stressful to find your child has been charged with a Hightstown criminal offense, having one of our attorneys by your side from start to finish can make a huge difference. We can fully explain your child’s charges—and his or her options.

Differences Between Juvenile Criminal Charges and Adult Criminal Charges in Hightstown

It is rare that a juvenile under the age of 18 will be charged as an adult, although there are certainly exceptions. Most often, your child’s case will be referred to the county Superior Court’s Family Division and, if it is a minor offense, reviewed by the Juvenile Conference Committee as a diversionary measure. If your child’s offense is a more serious one, his or her case will be reviewed by court intake staff to make a determination as to whether the offense should be heard in court, in front of a judge, based on your child’s age, any prior history of criminal offenses, and how severe the current offense is.

In certain cases, a juvenile who is over the age of 14, and is being charged with a serious criminal offense could have their case sent to adult court, although this would usually only happen if the juvenile had a long history with law enforcement, and little success with prior rehab attempts. In fact, in the past decade, the New Jersey Court System has put tougher requirements into place to prevent prosecutors from sending a juvenile case to adult court.

The prosecutor must now show that trying a juvenile as an adult would actually stop him or her from committing additional crimes in the future and/or that trying the juvenile as an adult would actually deter other juveniles from committing the same types of criminal offenses. Because adult penalties can cause irreparable harm to juveniles, this is good news. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court banned mandatory life sentences for juvenile criminal convictions—at a time when 28 states allowed such mandatory life sentences without parole for those under the age of 18.

It is also important that, as a parent, you understand the different language used for juveniles. As an example, your child will be “taken into custody,” not “arrested,” and if the charges against your child are proven, he or she will not be “convicted,” rather will be “adjudicated delinquent.”

Hightstown Juvenile Defense Lawyer

The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will ensure your child’s rights are fully protected, from start to finish, and will work hard for the best outcome to his/her juvenile charge. Our attorneys will work closely with you to formulate the most potent for your child’s future. Your child is required to have an attorney, and it only makes sense to have a highly qualified litigator at your child’s side. Our attorneys are prepared to immediately assist your child as soon as you call our offices at 609–683–8102.