The law in New Jersey treats underage people who break the law differently than those over the age of 18. There is a much stronger focus on rehabilitation when the person accused of violating the law is a minor. The penalties they face will typically be less severe, and they will stay in juvenile facilities instead of in jail or prison with potentially dangerous adults.

Some parents assume they don’t need to offer their child much support when they face juvenile charges. They believe that their child will learn a hard lesson and can move on with their life afterward without it limiting their future.

Can you trust the courts to automatically seal your child’s juvenile record?

There are limits to the juvenile record sealing process

To some extent, it is true that New Jersey will automatically protect minors accused of criminal activity from a permanent public record. In most cases, those accused of juvenile offenses can expect the state to seal their record when they turn 18.

There are some exceptions to this rule, however. They include providing certain information to victims and the families of victims, as well as disclosure laws when a juvenile faces very serious charges. Those accused of juvenile offenses that would be felonies if they were an adult, aggravated assault or damage to property costing more than $500 often cannot have their records sealed automatically. They would have to petition the courts to show that the disclosures would harm the young adults.

The nature of the accusations against a juvenile offender determines if the state will seal their record or not. Making sense of criminal defense laws, especially those related to violent crimes, can help those hoping to support their children in the criminal justice system.