New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyer
If a young person, or minor, under the age of 18 commits an offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult, they are charged with being delinquent. The charges are filed in the Family Part of the Superior Court in the county where they live. Many juvenile defense cases can be diverted into counseling with an ‘Adjourned Disposition’, which results in the charge being dismissed. If convicted of juvenile delinquency, the punishment in Family Part for first-time offenders usually includes counseling and sometimes probation. For more serious offenses, or, if the a juvenile has prior adjudications of delinquency, the Family Part can impose several years of incarceration in a State youth facility.
If your child has been charged with an act of delinquency or other juvenile offense, contact Howard Bailey at 973-982-1200 for a free consultation to discuss a juvenile defense as to what needs to be done to protect their rights.
Defending a Juvenile In or Out of Court
The same type of issues that can be used to protect the freedom of an adult, apply to offenses filed in the Family Part against a minor, or youthful offender. Constitutional Rights apply, Rules of Evidence apply, and the standard of proof – beyond a reasonable doubt – applies. In a recent case, Howard Bailey represented a client charged with Robbery. The victim identified the client as being one of three people who forcibly took his cell phone. A successful defense investigation established that the client had been ‘merely present’ at the scene, and that the client had not planned the robbery, had not taken the phone, and after being approached by the victim the client had merely refused to get involved. The State diverted the case to community counseling session, and the charges were dismissed.
Waiver of a Case to Adult Court
One of the most dangerous consequences of being charged with delinquency is for the prosecution to decide that they are sending the charges to the adult court for prosecution. This process means that your child will be tried in Superior Court as if they were an adult at the time they committed the crime. If convicted in adult court your child will be sentenced as an adult with more severe sentencing consequences than they would have faced in Family Part. Most cases which are sent to adult court involve serious types of crimes, serious injury, or the child has a prior conviction history.
What You Do In the First 24-Hours Does Matter
Time is of the essence, especially if the State tries to keep them in custody in the youth house or files for waiver. Consult immediately with an experienced defense lawyer to see what steps need to be taken to protect them from being adjudicated as a delinquent, or referred to adult court. Call Howard Bailey at 973-982-1200 to discuss your options.