Oftentimes when I’m contacted by a juvenile or their family, one of the questions that they are concerned with is, “Where is my case going to be heard?” In most instances, juvenile cases again are heard in family court and you are dealing with juvenile adjudications rather than criminal offenses. However, there is a certain set of circumstances and certain crimes, that could be treated as an adult defendant. For instance, if your child is over the age of 16 and charged with murder or some drug distribution cases or armed robbery or other crimes of that nature – it is at the discretion of the prosecutor’s office whether your child’s case will be heard in family court or if they’re going to make an attempt to have your child’s case heard as an adult. Despite the fact that your child may be 16 or 17 years old, they will be treated as if they are 18.
If that is the case, it is vital to consult with an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney. Prior to the case going to adult court, there is a waiver hearing. There are various ways that an experienced criminal attorney can contest that waiver even for a juvenile that should be waived to adult court. When your juvenile is charged with one of these crimes or any crime where you fear that he or she may be waived to adult court, an immediate consultation with an experienced criminal juvenile attorney is a must as that attorney has various ways to negotiate on your child’s behalf to prevent him or her being treated as an adult.
Keith Hirschorn, P.C., is an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney working throughout the state of New Jersey. If you have any questions regarding your case, call the law office to set up a free initial consultation.