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What penalties can a court give in a juvenile case?

When a juvenile is adjudicated as delinquent in New Jersey, the sentencing judge has several penalties available depending on the nature of the offense and the juvenile's record. Penalties imposed in juvenile cases are supposed to be designed to rehabilitate the defendant while also giving sufficient penalties to act as a deterrence from committing future offenses.

When a court finds after hearing that a juvenile is delinquent or upon a juvenile's entry of a plea agreement to the charged offense, the court will make a determination what penalties to impose. Juveniles who are first-time offenders and who are at a low risk to commit another offense may receive an adjourned disposition, which is adjourning the case for a set time period. If the juvenile commits no new offenses and completes any conditions imposed during the time, the case will be dismissed at the end of the period.

Others will be subjected to a variety of penalties. A juvenile may be placed on probation, may be ordered to attend residential inpatient treatment, may be securely confined or incarcerated, released to their parents or guardian or may be granted a diversion. Common conditions include community service hours, alcohol, drug or mental health treatment, support services and fines. The court may also suspend the juvenile's driver's license or order the completion of work, vocational or education programs. Certain juvenile offenses have mandatory dispositions set by statute, and many drug-related offenses carry mandatory fines.

Judges have multiple available penalties when a juvenile is adjudicated as delinquent. When a minor is facing juvenile charges, it may be in the juvenile's best interests to meet with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These cases move quickly, and juveniles have a right to representation from an attorney while they face charges.

Source: New Jersey Judiciary, "Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings and Your Child ", November 06, 2014

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