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Waiver of Juveniles to Adult Court is Now Subject to Higher Level of Scrutiny in NJ

Waiver of Juveniles to Adult Court is Now Subject to Higher Level of Scrutiny in NJ

Prosecutors showing probable cause that a juvenile committed certain enumerated violent and drug related offenses may waive juvenile offenders over 16 from the jurisdiction of the family court to adult criminal court. Previously the standard of review was “patent and gross abuse of discretion” when the prosecutor’s decision to waive the juvenile into adult criminal court was challenged. On September 12, 2012, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided, in State in the Interest of V.A., changed the standard of review to the much lower standard of “abuse of discretion.” The justices opinion indicated the lower standard was preferable due to the substantially enhanced punishment faced by juveniles tried in adult criminal court. In this case, the juveniles were charged with conduct amounting to first-degree robbery, second-degree aggravated assault and conspiracy. The justices, in consideration of the serious penalties for the offenses, offered guidelines governing the waiver of juveniles into adult criminal court including the nature of the offense, the need for deterrence, the possible sentence the juvenile will receive at trial and the juvenile’s prior record. Juvenile matters are extremely sensitive in nature as they may result in a criminal record which destroys the hope of certain educational and employment opportunities for the remainder of the juvenile’s life. If your son or daughter is facing criminal charges, you should consult an experienced criminal law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on juvenile criminal matters including municipal court matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter.

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