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“Thanks Tara for always believing in me and making me feel like I was your only client. You made the impossible possible. Forever grateful.”

- Gabriel V.

Arrested for Juvenile Offense in New Jersey

The philosophy of the New Jersey Juvenile Courts is: Understand and rehabilitate where possible, punish where necessary. Nonetheless, the State will often push for unnecessary consequences, void of any diversion- often forgetting the rehabilitative nature of the Juvenile Justice system. An experienced juvenile defense lawyer will not only fight the case at every level, but make sure the juvenile is taking the proper steps to rehabilitate. Ms. Breslow has enjoyed working with her juvenile clients over the past 18 years and she is passionate about making sure they do not become part of the “criminal justice system.” She has been a speaker at the New Jersey State Bar, on the topic of “How to Handle a Juvenile Case” training other lawyers and has tremendous experience navigating through the juvenile system.

In some cases, a juvenile may get a “deferred disposition” which can be either on the front or back end of a sentencing. This is essentially a diversionary program, yet there can be short and long-term consequences for a juvenile and this is not always the best choice. If the juvenile has been charged with a sex related offense, a drug charge, crimnal mischief theft or shoplifting charges, there can be serious consequences that the juvenile could be facing, confinement in juvenile facility and/or probation.

Becoming an “adjudicated delinquent” can put a permanent stain on their record which could have negative resonations when applying for schools, financial aid, military, driver’s license or professional licenses. Additionally, if a juvenile becomes an adult and gets into trouble, a judge may look at their juvenile record, and make decisions based on that.

Ms. Breslow has successfully represented juveniles for over 18 years, and knows the complicated matrix and the philosophy of the juvenile justice system. She fights hard for her clients making sure this does not ruin their future. She also has the ability to communicate and connect with the juvenile clients, trying to ensure this will be their last run in with the justice system.

What Constitutes a Juvenile Offense?

Any adult crime can be charged as a juvenile offense if the individual is under 18. Common juvenile offenses include but not limited to:

Tara Breslow-Testa is a juvenile crime attorney serving Monmouth, Ocean, Morris, Middlesex, Mercer and Bergen counties, who is familiar with the juvenile court system and knows how to work with aggressive prosecutors and seen-and-heard-it-all judges to find the most appropriate resolution for juvenile offenders.

She is a fierce advocate who will work tirelessly on your child’s behalf. She has years of experience advocating for the most vulnerable – minors who find themselves in trouble for the first time and those having difficulty finding the right path. Serving Monmouth, Ocean, Mercer and Middlesex Counties, Tara Breslow-Testa is a skilled juvenile criminal attorney who has the passion and commitment to vigorously represent you if this becomes a possibility.

What Happens if I’m Charged?

If you’re charged or your child is charged with an offense in most situations you will not receive a complaint or a court date. Instead, time will pass as the matter makes its way to the Family Division of the Superior Court as well as being reviewed by the Prosecutor’s Office. Most importantly, it is essential to retain competent counsel at the time of arrest, so that the juvenile's rights are reserved as often there are immediate motions that need to be filed, and defense counsel can try to get the case diverted. Additionally, it's essential the juvenile has an advocate right from the beginning.

Your case will be assigned to the Superior Court, Family Division, in the county the juvenile resides.

Tara Breslow-Testa is a juvenile offenses attorney who has a proven track record of working with family court judges to find the best rehabilitative remedy for you and fight the case at every level.

The Family Part

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part handles Judicial proceedings for most juveniles - with some exceptions.

Tara Breslow-Testa is a Monmouth County juvenile crime attorney who is intimately familiar with the Family Part and she is prepared to do what is best for your child, and you.


Oftentimes, upon reviewing the case, the Prosecutor will recommend that the case be heard by a juvenile referee and it will be approved by probation. The referee is still in the Family Part of the Superior Court, but this is considered a non formal proceeding since it is not in front of a juvenile judge. Although a juvenile referee is not a Superior Court Judge, the consequences they impose are similar to what a Superior Court Juvenile Judge can impose. It’s important to be properly represented in this court, as there are consequences that sometimes can be avoided.

Deferred Disposition

A “deferred disposition” can be ordered by a New Jersey judge as a second chance to let an underage offender make right on a crime - and not face fines or jail time. If the juvenile complies with all the judge’s orders - which might include regular visits to a probation officer - then after a period of time that is usually one year the matter is over.

Tara Breslow-Testa is a Monmouth County Juvenile Crime lawyer who understands judicial psychology, and has the skills to negotiate for a deferred disposition - sometimes it takes some convincing. Ms. Breslow-Testa has come through for her clients time and again.

Juvenile Cases Tried in Adult Court

Juveniles between 14 and 18 can have their cases “waived” to an adult court, or the attorneys for a juvenile can ask that their case be moved to the higher court. This move is usually triggered by serious crimes: murder, sexual assault, armed robbery or any firearms crime.

Life imprisonment without possibility of parole cannot be applied to juvenile cases tried in adult court, as the Supreme Court has found that to be “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Juveniles can also voluntarily ask that their case be moved to adult court - this could be on advice of counsel, or previous experience with an unsympathetic judge.

If you are the parent of a juvenile who has recently gotten into some trouble, it is essential to retain counsel that is very familiar with the Juvenile courts and fight for your loved one. There is one shot at handling this the right way.

For a free consultation, contact Tara Breslow-Testa at (732) 784-2880.

Client Reviews
"I am thankful I have you as an attorney. After meeting with you I can see your reputation does you no justice to how really awesome you are. I am encouraged and elated. Thanks for being so good at what you do." Mario
"She is the best. Helped me with a criminal matter and handled my situation perfectly. Was very knowledgeable answered all my questions. Helped me get out of a bad situation when I thought there was no hope. She even called me the night before the court date to put my mind to rest..." Pedro
"Tara Breslow is by far the best lawyer. She makes the impossible become possible. If it was not for her.. I do not know where i would be. This is the lawyer you want. She is amazing!!..." Brittany
"I called Tara on a Sunday morning and to my surprise, she returned my call that same day. My son was facing serious criminal charges in Monmouth County that could have affected him for the rest of his life. However, Tara dug in and worked the case that resulted in a better than expected disposition. I HIGHLY recommend her to anyone facing any serious criminal charges." Jose
"Tara presented my case in a positive way, which resulted in a more favorable outcome for me. She advised me very well and helped me prepare for my court appearance. Tara is a very reliable and experienced attorney. If it weren't for her assistance, I would not have had such a positive outcome in my court appearance." Anonymous