Prepare for Your Juvenile Referee Hearing in New Jersey

What Takes Place at a Juvenile Referee Hearing in Monmouth County

The Juvenile Criminal Justice System functions completely different than the Adult Criminal Justice System in New Jersey. In fact, there are more differences than similarities. When it comes to the Juvenile Criminal Justice System the main overall goal it to seek to rehabilitate the juvenile when feasible. That means that the “best interest of the child” will be the controlling theme throughout the process. If a juvenile is “taken into custody”, which is equivalent to being placed under arrest, their case can proceed in really four different ways. Those ways include: Juvenile Conference Committee, Station House Adjustment; Referee Hearing and a formal hearing before a juvenile Judge. Typically speaking, the Station House Adjustment is the least informal proceedings, followed by the Referee Hearing and the formal hearing before a Judge. Usually, the Station House Adjustment will only take place if the determination is made to not formally charge the juvenile as a delinquent, which is equivalent to being placed under arrest, but divert them prior to. This type of proceeding is typically for very low level offenses. Even though it is a referee hearing is considered less formal than appearing before a Juvenile Judge, we strongly urge parents or guardians to not underestimate the severity of these cases. Although the likelihood of a custodial sentences is not realistic, the ramifications if not handled properly can still have a devastating impact on the juvenile’s future. Being adjudicated as a delinquent, which is equivalent to being convicted, will certainly jeopardize the juvenile’s chances of gaining admission into college and could affect their ability to obtain certain professional licenses later on in life. If your child has been take into custody and is facing a juvenile referee hearing in Monmouth County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our attorneys have handled a wide array of juvenile criminal matters throughout the last decade. Cases ranging from carjacking and armed robberies down to shoplifting and underage drinking. As such, we have a strong understanding of how Juvenile Criminal Justice System works in Monmouth County. If you would like to set up an initial consultation today, please call our Middletown office at 732.858.6959. We serve all of Monmouth County, including Holmdel, Freehold, Wall Township, Hazlet, Ocean Township, Tinton Falls, Asbury Park, Manalapan, Atlantic Highlands and Oceanport.

Understanding the Juvenile Referee Process in New Jersey

As stated above, even though a Juvenile Referee Hearing is considered less formal than proceeding before a Juvenile Judge in a traditional courtroom setting, these types of hearings should not be taken lightly. In order for a Juvenile Referee to be able to preside over these types of cases they must first undergo some rather rigorous training in order to meet the high standards that our State has set forth for this position. Remember, the goal is to rehabilitate, so understanding what the most effective alternatives to incarceration for a juvenile is crucial. If the Juvenile Referee meets these high standards, then they would have to be appointed by the Family Court Judge of the county. The referee will have the authority to take a formal guilty plea from the Juvenile as well as conduct a hearing. During that hearing the state and defense counsel will be afforded the opportunity to present their cases, call whatever witnesses they shall choose and present whatever evidence they deem appropriate. It will then be up to the referee to make a finding if the juvenile is “delinquent” of the allegations. If the referee finds the juvenile “not delinquent” of the allegations then the case is over and the proceedings are complete. If the referee however concludes that the juvenile is “delinquent” then he will be called upon to make a recommendation to the Family Court Judge as to what the sentence should be. It is important to note here that Juvenile Judge will have to review the recommendation prior to any sentence becoming effective.

Common Juvenile Cases that Get Sent to a Juvenile Referee in Freehold

As touched upon earlier, for the most part, lower level offenses get diverted from the traditional formal courtroom proceedings to a referee hearing. The juvenile’s prior record as well as the specific facts underlying the allegations will play a major role in determining if the case will proceed via an informal referee hearing. In order to even be considered for a referee hearing, the juvenile must be charged with a petty disorderly persons offense, a disorderly persons offense, or a fourth degree indictable offense. In other words, a juvenile charged with a first, second or third degree felony would not be eligible for a referee hearing. Some of the more common criminal charges that we see being diverted to a Juvenile Referee in Monmouth County include:

Types of Sentences a Juvenile Referee Can Impose in NJ

As stated above, when it comes time to imposing a sentence, the Juvenile Criminal Justice System focus on the “best interest of the child”. As a result, there is a significant number of potential sentences that can be imposed to help achieve that goal. Some of the more common sentences that we see being recommended by a Juvenile Referee in Monmouth County include: a differed disposition; unsupervised probation; supervised probation; loss of driver’s license, mental health / drug / anger management counseling, community service, essays, apology letters and restitution of applicable. It is important to remember that the goal is too rehabilitate, so the potential sentences and conditions imposed can really vary depending the specific needs of the juvenile.

Need an Attorney For a Juvenile Referee Hearing in Freehold NJ

If a loved one is scheduled to appear before a Juvenile Referee in Monmouth County, contact the Keith Oliver Criminal Law to discuss the case in a free consultation. Our attorneys have dedicated their careers to defending those accused of crimes, including juveniles. We fully comprehend what a juvenile conviction can do to a child’s future. As such, our attorneys are dedicated to aggressively defending these types of cases to help protect our client’s future. We defend all types of juvenile cases, including aggravated assaultterroristic threats, CDS possession, drug distribution and shoplifting in towns throughout Monmouth County. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Middletown, Holmdel, Little Silver, Belmar, Manasquan, Marlboro, Keyport and Red Bank. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation today, please contact us at 732-858-6959 or you can try contacting us online.

Helpful Resources For Juvenile Criminal Cases:

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.