Can a Minor Be Charged with a Felony in New Jersey?

As a parent, the last thing you expect is to see that your child has been charged with a crime. This type of situation can turn your life into an instant nightmare. However, you don’t have to go through this challenging time alone. There are legal steps you can take to make sure your son or daughter’s rights are protected at all times. Can your child be charged with a felony in New Jersey? Atlantic City juvenile crimes attorney John J. Zarych invites you to keep reading as we provide an answer to this critical question.

Can a Minor Face Felony Charges in NJ?

Generally, minors – juveniles under the age of 18 – are tried differently from adults. Furthermore, the penalties associated with their offenses tend to carry less severe consequences. However, there are exceptional situations where a minor may be tried as an adult, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding their alleged crime.

A minor may be tried as an adult for any of the following crimes:

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Aggravated sexual assault is a severe crime in New Jersey. It is classified as a first-degree criminal offense and carries the most punishing legal consequences out of all types of criminal charges. If a minor is charged and convicted of this crime, they will likely face up to 20 years in prison along with thousands of dollars in fines.


Charges related to the theft of a vehicle are very serious and can carry harsh consequences if convicted. This type of crime is classified as a violent crime, as it entails the use of physical force to strip a person of their vehicle. Many times, prosecutors will likely file additional charges if there was a gun involved in the commission of the criminal offense. Depending on your specific situation, you may face up to 30 years in prison along with steep fines.


Murder is one of the most – if not the most – severe types of criminal charges a person can face. If convicted of this crime, a defendant can receive a minimum of 30 years in prison with the chance of being sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole. A conviction of this nature can turn your life upside down and hurt your chances of staying in your community.

Common Types of Juvenile Crimes in New Jersey

Besides indictable crimes, teens and juveniles can be arrested for committing different criminal offenses. Every one of these offenses carries several consequences that the minor must comply with. Some of the most common types of crimes a minor can be charged with include the following:


This type of criminal charge applies to minors the same way it would apply to an adult in court. This means that if your son was charged with negligently causing bodily injury, or attempting to cause physical harm to another person, they can face serious consequences. Incarceration may not be imposed for this type of crime to first offenders; however, the court may rule differently against repeat assault offenders.


Burglary laws in New Jersey have different nuances. Depending on the severity of the offense, a minor can face years in detention. For instance, if an adult is convicted of burglary – which is commonly charged as a third-degree crime – he or she can spend up to five years behind bars. However, a minor under the same circumstances may spend up to two years in detention.

Drug-Related Crimes

Generally, drug-related crimes are not indictable unless the charges are considered unusually extensive. However, a court may impose the same penalties on a minor as on an adult. If convicted of a drug crime, a minor can be sent to a juvenile detention center. Additionally, other penalties such as community service and fines may also be imposed.

These are only examples of the types of crimes that can carry criminal consequences for convicted minors. While these and other offenses carry less severe consequences than those charged against an adult, they can still affect your life and the lives of those around you. In cases involving the conviction of a minor, the convicted felon’s parents may be held liable for the actions of their child. Furthermore, they may be responsible for paying debt related to fines or restitution. A skilled, dedicated criminal defense lawyer can help you defend yourself and your child against any charges.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Offering Free Consultations in New Jersey

If your teen son or daughter has been charged with a severe crime in New Jersey, there is no time to waste. At the Law Office of John J. Zarych, we dedicate our legal practice to defending and upholding your rights as a defendant. Don’t let a criminal conviction take over your life. Our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers are here to help. To discuss your case in a free, private consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 641-2266.


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