Protecting children from exposure to criminal activity is a big priority for political leaders. It helps in the fight against gang violence, to be sure, but keeping children away from participation in any crime can head off future criminal acts. To this end, New Jersey adopted penalties for N.J.S.A. 2C:24-9, Use of 17-Year-Old or Younger to Commit Criminal Offense.
The statute is a way of enhancing the penalty for a person over the age of 18 who is convicted of using, directing, or hiring a person who is 17 years of age or younger for the underlying offense. Where the underlying crime is a disorderly persons offense (a misdemeanor in most states), they will also be charged and sentenced for violation of a fourth degree crime under 2C:24-9. In every other instance, the Use of 17-Year-Old allegation will be charged one degree higher than the underlying offense.
It’s no defense to claim you didn’t know the person’s age. Your best hope is to work with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to push back as hard as possible against the charges and get the best result for your case. Call Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9661 for a free consultation.