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Juvenile Delinquency Transfers to Adult Court

In a prior article, an overview of the juvenile delinquency system was provided as well as the benefit to proceeding under the New Jersey Code of Juvenile Justice as opposed to the New Jersey Penal Code , which governs crimes within the state. However, not all juvenile cases proceed through the juvenile delinquency system. In New Jersey, there are two ways in which a juvenile matter may proceed through the criminal justice system: voluntary removal to adult court or removal without consent.

Removal without Juvenile Consent

A case may be transferred to the criminal justice system when a juvenile (an individual between the age of 14 and 18 years of age) commits certain delinquent acts that would constitute specific criminal acts had the individual committed the age after attaining the age of 18. In order to have a case transferred to juvenile court, the prosecutor must request a waiver within 60 days of the date in which the complaint is received.

Typically, more serious offenses result in charges as an adult. Any violent acts, such as aggravated assault, robbery, or murder, as well as sexual assault or an assault involving a deadly weapon are likely to result in a transfer to adult court. The New Jersey legislature provides a full list of delinquent acts that may result in a request for waiver.

The court will look at a variety of factors to determine whether a juvenile matter should be transferred to adult court including whether the juvenile has committed and prior delinquent acts and the age of the juvenile. A waiver will not be granted if a juvenile demonstrates that the services available by the court and the probability of rehabilitation outweighs the reasons for the request of waiver.

Voluntary Removal

A juvenile over the age of 14 may voluntarily remove their case to adult court. The main reason for this request is so that a juvenile may have their matter heard by a jury. Having a jury hear the case may result in a more favorable outcome. A juvenile under the age of 14 may request to have the case transferred if charged with murder.

Effect of a Transfer to Adult Court

Once a case is transferred to adult court, the juvenile will lose many of the protections afforded. Thee minor’s record will not be sealed and is available for public viewing. Similarly, court proceedings will be open and available for public viewing.

In addition, the focus of the New Jersey Penal Code is to punish wrongdoing. The practical effect of a transfer to adult court is the juvenile will be subject to much harsher penalties. A juvenile in adult court will be punished and treated as an adult.

Contact an Experienced Juvenile Attorney

If the prosecutor is requesting a waiver to adult court in your child’s matter, you need an experienced attorney who will work hard to keep the case in family court. The attorney should also have experience handling adult criminal matters so that you have one attorney throughout the entirety of your case. Attorney Phillip J. Murphy is an experienced criminal law attorney who has handled juvenile matters as well as adult criminal matters. Attorney Murphy represents clients in and around Bergen County, New Jersey and Rockland County, New York. Contact attorney Murphy for an initial consultation today.

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