Facing Criminal Charges?

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Helping You Navigate Juvenile Court Proceedings

Getting in trouble with the law is a scary ordeal, and is even more traumatic when it happens to young people. When a juvenile is charged with a crime, an attorney is required to represent that child, and if the charge isn’t handled properly, it can leave a harrowing mark on a young person’s future.

At The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo, I have been defeating juvenile charges in Union County and surrounding counties for over 35 years. I have successfully tried hundreds of juvenile court cases both as a county prosecutor and a private defense attorney. I am a knowledgeable and highly skilled attorney in the juvenile trial procedure and juvenile law. Contact me today at 908-272-9700 and get the results you need to get your child’s life back on track.

Juvenile Arrest And Custody

When a juvenile commits a crime, the police have a lot of discretion in taking action. They can detain the juvenile, which is similar to an arrest and involves holding the juvenile in a detention center. Once the juvenile is detained, the officer can decide whether to release him after a simple warning or refer the case to juvenile court.

When the police decide to detain a juvenile and refer the case to juvenile court, sometimes they will try to hold the juvenile in the detention center until the court proceedings take place. This is called custody. When the juvenile is held in custody, the parents must be notified immediately, and a hearing must be held the day after the initial detention in order to decide whether custody is proper.

Informal Versus Formal Charges

If the case is referred to juvenile court, a prosecutor or intake officer has discretion to either dismiss the case, handle the matter informally, or petition the matter, which means filing formal charges. If the officer decides to proceed informally, the juvenile will usually appear before a judge and be lectured. Often the juvenile will be required to perform some type of community service or pay restitution for damages.

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If the juvenile is proceeded against formally, a petition that sets out the charges is filed, and a court date is set. When the date arrives, the juvenile goes before the court, and the judge read the charges. The judge then decides whether to keep the matter in juvenile court or transfer it to adult court.

Adult Court Versus Juvenile Court

If the juvenile court decides to send the case to adult court, the judge sets a date for a fitness hearing. At the fitness hearing, the judge will decide whether the child shall be tried as a juvenile or an adult in the adult court.

If the case stays in juvenile court, the juvenile will either enter into a plea agreement, which is an admission of guilt in exchange for certain penalties, or go to trial. Juvenile trial is called adjudication, and at adjudication, a judge will hear the case, determine the outcome, and sentence the juvenile.


In juvenile court, a judge has a lot of discretion in determining the sentence. A judge can sentence a juvenile to years in a detention facility without a set date for release. The judge has the ability to monitor the juvenile’s progress and grant release only when the maximum time has been served or the judge believes the juvenile is rehabilitated. In situations like this, an attorney who is familiar with the judge is extremely valuable.

The Importance Of Protecting Your Future

Unlike records in adult court, records in juvenile court are sealed documents. Upon reaching a certain age and conditions like good behavior or clean drug testing, an experienced attorney can successfully initiate the process to expunge the juvenile record.

When you walk into court, you need an attorney by your side who won’t take no for an answer, who commands respect in the courtroom, and has a solid history of powerful wins. At The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo, I take on every case aggressively, thoroughly analyzing the evidence, and scrutinizing the facts to find loopholes in your case. I know that you expect results, and I expect to give them to you. Contact me today at 908-272-9700 for a free initial consultation.