Penalties in Juvenile Court

The penalties that apply to criminal charges at the Juvenile Division of the Somerset County Superior Court in Somerville are different from those that are triggered in adult cases. While they are clearly less severe, they nevertheless have the potential for life changing consequences. A child can be subjected to juvenile detention, house arrest, probation, and other ramifications depending on the severity of the related offense. In extreme cases, they may even be treated as an adult and have their charge waived to adult court. This is a primary consideration for the rule that every juvenile be represented by an attorney and not their parent or any other lay person when they appear in court.

At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall our staff of criminal attorneys have been defending children just like yours for over 100 years combined. Our former prosecutors and other members of our team are skilled in the defense of juvenile delinquency and extremely familiar with the Somerville Courthouse and personnel. To speak to a lawyer immediately, call our Bridgewater Office at 908-722-1011.

Somerset County Juvenile Charge: Penalties & Sentencing

N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-44 sets forth the punishment that may be imposed in a juvenile case. In this regard, a juvenile may be placed in detention as follows:

Nature of OffenseMaximum Period of Incarceration
Murder10-20 Years
First Degree CrimeUp to 4 Years
Second Degree CrimeUp to 3 Years
Third Degree CrimeUp to 2 Years
Fourth Degree CrimeUp to 1 Year
Disorderly Persons OffenseUp to Six Months


The more common first degree juvenile offenses include armed robbery, sexual assault, and carjacking. Aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury, drug distribution, and possession of an illegal handgun are examples of second degree crimes. Third degree crimes make up the largest group of criminal charges heard in juvenile court and includes burglary, possession with intent to distribution marijuana and juvenile shoplifting of merchandise with a value of $500 or more.

The juvenile judge will consider several factors in determining whether to impose a period of detention. The considerations include the prior record of the child, the heinous/cruel nature of the offense, the likelihood the delinquent will commit another violation, impact on the victim, and the need to deter others from violating the law.  There is a presumption non-incarceration if the juvenile has no prior record and the conviction is for a fourth degree crime or less. In addition, a juvenile that is 11 or under cannot be committed to a detention facility other than for an arson offense or crime of the first or second degree.

Bridgewater Juvenile Defense Attorneys

As previously stated, you do not have a choice as to whether your son or daughter will be represented by an attorney. The only issue whether its going to be by a public defender because your income is too low for you to afford one or a private lawyer of your choosing. Our attorneys can serve you well in Somerville with numerous former prosecutors and a staff with over 100 years experience. Whether your child was arrested in Bridgewater, Warren, North Plainfield, Franklin Township, or Hillsborough, we have the skills you need. fficer. Hiring a well equipped juvenile lawyer can honestly mean the difference between walking out of Court with your family intact or watching your child taken in custody by a Sheriff’s Officer. Call The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall for a free initial consultation at (908) 722-1011.