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What is the court process for a juvenile offender?


When a minor is accused with a juvenile offense, he or she can expect his or her case to follow a specific procedure as it moves through the juvenile justice court system. The procedure and timelines governing it are set by statutory laws in New Jersey.

Following a juvenile's arrest, he or she will typically have a detention hearing within 24 hours. The purpose of this hearing is for the juvenile to be informed of his or her charges. The court will determine whether the juvenile will remain in detention, have a bond set or if he or she will be released to the custody of his or her parents while the case is pending.

If the juvenile is to remain in detention, he or she will have a probable cause hearing within one to two days. If probable cause is not found, the juvenile will be released until an adjudicator hearing is held. An adjudicator hearing is where the court determines whether or not the juvenile is adjudged to be delinquent. If a juvenile remains in detention while his or her case is pending, the disposition hearing must be held within 60 days. It can only be extended beyond that time period if the court finds good cause for an extension.

This information should not be confused for direct legal counsel. Since juvenile cases move on a shorter time frame, if a juvenile or his or her family intend for the juvenile to be represented by an attorney, they may benefit by seeking out a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Criminal convictions, including juvenile ones, can have lasting consequences including time in detention or on probation.

Source: The State of New Jersey , "Moving through the JJC System", November 02, 2014

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