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What Can You Do If Your Child Was Used by an Adult to Commit a Crime?

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What Can You Do If Your Child Was Used by an Adult to Commit a Crime?

April 23, 2024

What Can You Do If Your Child Was Used by an Adult to Commit a Crime?

When a child is implicated in a crime, especially under the influence or orchestration of an adult, it presents a profoundly complex and distressing situation for parents or guardians. In New Jersey, the legal system provides specific safeguards for minors, recognizing their vulnerability to adult manipulation. This article explores the vital steps and legal defenses available to protect your child under such circumstances, emphasizing the role of experienced juvenile defense attorneys in navigating these challenging waters.

Understanding the Legal Framework in New Jersey

New Jersey’s juvenile justice system is fundamentally different from the adult criminal system, focusing more on rehabilitation than punishment. Under New Jersey law, the primary goal is to guide minors towards rehabilitation and reintegration into society. This is crucial for cases where a minor was coerced into criminal activity by an adult. The state’s legal framework provides for several potential defenses based on the age of the minor, the nature of the offense, and the level of the adult’s influence or coercion.

When an adult uses a minor to commit a crime, it can constitute a significant aggravating factor in the adult’s prosecution and a mitigating factor for the juvenile. This is because the law recognizes the inherent power imbalance and the potential for exploitation.

Immediate Steps to Take

Secure Legal Representation

It is imperative to engage an attorney who specializes in juvenile law immediately after discovering your child’s involvement in a crime. Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC are equipped with seasoned juvenile defense lawyers who understand the complexities involved in cases where an adult uses a child to commit a crime. An experienced attorney can navigate the legal system to protect your child’s rights and future.

Document Interaction with the Adult

Keep a detailed log of your child’s interactions with the adult involved. Note all relevant details such as communications, gifts, threats, or any other form of influence. This documentation will be invaluable in court to establish the context of the adult’s manipulation.

Seek Psychological Support

Organize a professional psychological evaluation. Understanding the mental and emotional state of your child is crucial, not only for building a legal defense but also for their recovery. Professional counseling can help them cope with the stress, guilt, or confusion they may feel. Demonstrating to the court that the child’s actions were influenced by their psychological state could also be a pivotal aspect of their defense.

Legal Defenses and Strategies

Coercion or Duress

New Jersey law considers coercion a significant factor in mitigating juvenile delinquency charges. Demonstrating that your child acted under threats or severe pressure can help in reducing the severity of the charges. For example, if an adult threatened harm to the child or their family, this would be a critical element of the defense.

Lack of Intent

In criminal law, intent is crucial. For juveniles, proving a lack of intent can involve showing that they did not fully understand the implications of their actions due to the adult’s deceptive manipulation. This is particularly relevant in cases involving complex schemes like fraud or theft, where the minor might not grasp all the legal consequences.

Influential Role of the Adult

Highlighting the adult’s dominant role can alter the case’s trajectory significantly. If the adult had a mentor-like influence or a position of authority over the minor, such as a coach, family friend, or employer, this could shift the focus from the minor’s actions to the adult’s misconduct.

The Role of the Court and Rehabilitation Focus

The New Jersey juvenile justice system emphasizes rehabilitation, aiming to prevent future delinquency. Courts often prefer alternatives to incarceration, such as community service, probation, or educational programs. Your attorney can advocate for these alternatives, focusing on your child’s rehabilitation needs rather than punitive measures. This approach not only aids in the child’s reintegration into society but also aligns with the state’s juvenile justice goals.

Planning for Your Child’s Future

The legal implications of a crime can cast a long shadow, but proactive and informed steps can significantly brighten the outlook for your child’s future. By partnering with a knowledgeable juvenile defense attorney, you can tailor a strategy that not only addresses the immediate legal challenges but also sets a course for recovery and growth. At Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC, we focus on turning today’s challenges into tomorrow’s opportunities, ensuring that every child’s case is approached with the utmost care and consideration for their long-term well-being.

Contact Juvenile Crime Attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC Today To Discuss Your Child’s Charges

At Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC, we understand the complexities of juvenile law, especially when an adult has exploited a child’s trust and innocence. Our experienced juvenile defense attorneys are dedicated to protecting your child’s rights and ensuring their future is not defined by this incident. With a compassionate approach and a focus on rehabilitation, we fight to turn a challenging situation into a pathway for growth and recovery.

Don’t navigate this alone—contact us today for a consultation, and let us advocate for your child’s best possible outcome.

Disclaimer: Please note that this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Each case is unique, and we recommend consulting directly with one of our attorneys to address your specific situation.

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