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New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyers
No parent can be blamed for feeling overwhelmed if they receive a call from the police telling them their child has been arrested for a juvenile criminal offense. However, it important to act promptly to protect your child’s rights — and potentially their freedom and future.
The best way to protect an underage child who has been arrested is to immediately engage a juvenile crime defense attorney experienced with New Jersey criminal and disorderly persons offenses. The attorneys of the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have extensive experience handling juvenile matters, and deep knowledge of New Jersey juvenile law.
Our firm’s attorneys are former New Jersey prosecutors and public defenders who have spent decades dealing with juvenile cases in municipal and county courts across the state. We know exactly what must be done to protect your child, and can guide you through this difficult time.
Families from across the State of New Jersey are thankful that they turned to our law firm for help when they were facing situations like yours. We can move immediately — day, night, weekends or holidays — to secure your child’s release if he or she is being held, and then sit down to talk to you about your child and how New Jersey handles charges against juveniles.
Regardless of the allegations against your child, you can count on a compassionate and attentive response from our team, as well as:
- One of the largest and most experienced legal defense teams in New Jersey. We will put the level of time, energy, planning and resources necessary to defend your child and pursue the best possible outcome for him or her.
- Experience with juvenile cases in courtrooms across the state. We have nine offices in New Jersey and professional relationships locally that make us better able to negotiate reduced or dismissed charges, lighter sentences, such as probation, and other agreements to the benefit of your child.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall if your child faces juvenile charges anywhere in New Jersey. We have offices across the state, and initial consultations with our attorneys are always free of charge. Get immediate help and answers to your questions now.
What Happens in a New Jersey Juvenile Offense Case?
When we hear from parents whose children have been arrested, it is often their family’s first brush with the law. We understand. No one would expect a parent to know precisely what to do if their child is arrested.
First, you need to know that the State of New Jersey would rather help your child than punish him or her. And we also want to make sure every decision made in the days ahead is to the benefit of your child and your family.
Juvenile cases in New Jersey involve alleged offenders under 18 years old, and begin in Family Court. In cases involving serious crimes, such as armed robbery, the prosecutor may ask the court to move the case to adult criminal court.
The philosophy of the New Jersey Family Court regarding juveniles is focused on rehabilitation, including:
- Preservation of the family insofar as possible for the care, development and protection of juveniles coming within the Court’s jurisdiction
- Removing children committing delinquent criminal behavior and placing them in a program of supervision, care and rehabilitation
- Securing care, guidance and control, preferably in their own home, of children coming within the jurisdiction of the court
- Fostering the protection of the community, accountability for criminal conduct, and development of children as productive and responsible citizens
After some arrests, the Court will detain a child in a Juvenile Detention Facility until he or she can be fully evaluated as to whether he poses a danger to himself or others. A judge must decide whether the youth is equipped to return home, to school, and to the community.
The Court will consider:
- The seriousness of the alleged crime
- The child’s prior criminal history
- Any medical or psychological issues the child has
- Information provided by police, third parties, and parents regarding the child’s problems
- Any other information relevant to the child’s safety to himself or others
Therefore, even at this initial stage, it is extremely important for an experienced defense lawyer to speak for your child. We can get appropriate information before the court and address any concerns of the Family Court and presiding judge to help ensure that your child is not unduly detained.
In fact, all juveniles facing charges in Family Court must be represented by a lawyer, and there is no leeway for a parent or guardian to proceed without a defense attorney. Public defenders are appointed for children when their parents and/or guardians are unable to hire an attorney to represent their child because of demonstrable indigency.
Soon you will receive one of two notices from the state:
- Notice for Appearance at Juvenile Conference Committee. This is an informal proceeding wherein parents and the child meet with an individual, usually a municipal court judge, who rules on the case informally. Generally, less serious offenses and children who have no prior juvenile offense history in New Jersey go to a committee hearing. The committee may order that the child perform community service, pay fines, make restitution, and/or undertake drug, alcohol or psychological counseling.
- Mandatory Assignment of Counsel Hearing. This will advise you that a hearing has been scheduled at the local county Superior Court to refer the case against your child to Family Court, where it will be prosecuted by the County Prosecutor’s Office.
If the case ultimately goes to trial, it will be heard by a Family Court judge. The prosecution will present its case followed by the defense, with each side allowed to cross-examine the other’s witnesses. The judge will decide all issues. There is no right to a jury trial in New Jersey juvenile cases.
Juvenile cases are heard in the county where the offense allegedly occurred. However, if the juvenile resides outside the county of occurrence, then the case will be heard in the county where the child resides.
Juvenile cases are heard in a closed court, with only people involved in the case (including parents or guardians) allowed to attend. All records associated with juvenile proceedings are confidential, including all social, medical, psychological, legal, probation, and law enforcement records.
If a juvenile pleads guilty or is found guilty, his or her case is scheduled for a disposition hearing. It should be held within 30 days for a child in custody and within 60 days for others.
Penalties are according to the seriousness or the crime and/or mandatory punishment for certain offenses as defined by N.J. statutes. In general, a juvenile found guilty may face:
- Fines and restitution
- Drug and alcohol counseling
- Driver’s license suspension
- Community service
- Commitment to a juvenile detention facility
The Court may order commitment (confinement) or probation. In either case, the Court must obtain and review a pre-disposition report. The report reviews the background of the child including, but limited to, prior record, social and academic development (maturity and learning disabilities, for example), physical and psychological state, and family background.
Under New Jersey law, the Court may modify a juvenile’s sentence at any time, including in response to motions and applications for post-disposition relief made by the child’s attorney on his or her behalf.
Because a child must be represented by an attorney in a criminal case, it is better for parents to engage an attorney they can feel comfortable and confident with as soon as possible. The defense attorneys from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are experienced with juvenile cases and can guide parents through this difficult time to make sure missteps that could prove harmful to the child or family are avoided.
We Will Fight for Your Child’s Best Interests
If your child or teenager has been charged with a juvenile offense, it is critically important to work with an attorney who has extensive knowledge of New Jersey juvenile law.
Your child has rights, which must be protected, including the right to remain silent and not incriminate himself or herself. Your child should not answer any questions from police or other investigators until an attorney is present.
Attorneys from the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall represent juveniles accused of all types of crimes in New Jersey, including but not limited to:
- Theft crimes, including shoplifting, auto theft, robbery, burglary, vandalism
- Sex crimes, such as rape, sexual assault, lewdness, indecent exposure
- Violent crimes, including assault, threats, stalking, harassment
- Drug possession
If your child’s rights are to be fully protected as allowed by law, you must engage a juvenile defense attorney experienced in New Jersey Family Court. Schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at any of our nine New Jersey locations today for a prompt response to your child’s needs.
How We Can Protect Your Child Charged with a N.J. Juvenile Offense
As your child’s defense attorneys, our first task will be to, in consultation with you, help secure your child’s release or ensure he or she is properly detained if that is in their and your family’s best interests.
Then we will begin investigating the charges against your child, including determining whether there was police or prosecutorial misconduct, or there are flaws in the prosecution’s case. This may include such issues as:
- Illegal arrest, including failure to advise of Miranda rights against self-incrimination
- Illegal search and seizure, including illegally stopping a motor vehicle
- Mistaken identity
- Faulty suspect lineup
- Racial, ethnic, socio-economic, gender, sexual orientation, age or other bias
- Lack of credible witnesses
- Faulty or fabricated testimony
- Faulty forensic testing (particularly regarding DNA evidence or breath alcohol content testing)
Because of our attorneys’ experience across the state, we have the local professional relationships needed to immediately make contact and begin negotiations to have charges against your child dismissed or reduced as part of a plea bargain.
It is not unusual after an investigation to find reasons to have juvenile offense charges reduced or dropped. For example, in alcohol- and drug-related cases associated with teenage parties or other large gatherings, the facts of the case are often unclear. In cases involving theft, simple assault and other interpersonal disputes, we may be able to reach out to the alleged victims (and often their parents) to make amends and restitution, which clears the way for dropping charges.
If we cannot have disorderly conduct charges against your child dismissed, we will advocate for your child in Family Court to seek the best resolution to the case available. If a guilty verdict is unavoidable, you child may be eligible for probation.
New Jersey’s Juvenile Supervision program offers underage offenders the opportunity to remain in their own community under the supervision of a probation officer who monitors their compliance with the rules and conditions imposed by the Family Court judge. These rules and conditions may include paying restitution and fines, achieving educational goals and, if applicable, completing alcohol or drug abuse treatment.
An experienced and compassionate juvenile defense attorney from our firm will work diligently to resolve the juvenile offense charges against your child in the best available way for him or her, and for your family. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today to discuss how we can help you.
Meet with a New Jersey Juvenile Crime Defense Attorney Today
Of you minor-age child has been charged with a crime in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall to speak to an experienced juvenile crimes defense attorney as soon as possible. There are opportunities our dedicated attorneys can pursue to keep a criminal a conviction off of your child’s your record.
We have nine offices across New Jersey for juvenile defense like in Burlington County, and an initial legal consultation with is always free. Please call now.