Being charged with a crime is a frightening experience for anyone, especially a minor. Fortunately, the juvenile court system in New Jersey often prioritizes rehabilitation over punishment. To that end, courts sometimes give young offenders a second chance through a “deferred disposition,” the goal being to get the offender’s life back on track without saddling them with the full consequences of a criminal conviction.
How Does a Deferred Disposition Work?
Through a deferred disposition, New Jersey courts can postpone sentencing a juvenile offender and impose special probationary conditions on them instead. During the offender’s probationary period, they must complete all the requirements ordered by the presiding judge. A probation officer is assigned to monitor minors given a deferred disposition and help them comply with court orders. If the child satisfies all the requirements by the end of the probationary period, the court can then dismiss complaints against them.
Conditions for a deferred disposition can include things like:
- Regular meetings with a probation officer
- No unexcused absences from school
- Random drug or alcohol testing
- Restitution payments
- Community service
- No new offenses or criminal charges
If a juvenile offender fails to meet all prescribed conditions for their deferred disposition, the complaint returns to the court, and the presiding judge proceeds with sentencing.
Who Qualifies for Deferred Disposition in New Jersey?
New Jersey juvenile courts usually only offer deferred dispositions to younger offenders who commit minor violations and have no prior infractions on their records. Examples of “minor violations” that could qualify include:
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
- Possession of fewer than 50 grams of marijuana
- Simple assault
How to Get a Deferred Disposition for My Child in New Jersey?
When determining whether to grant a deferred disposition, New Jersey judges may consider things like:
- The nature of the crime
- The circumstances of the crime
- The effect of the offense on victims
- The effect of the offense on the community
- The child’s age
- Whether the child has a previous criminal record
- Whether the child can handle the responsibilities associated with a disposition
- Any threat posed to public safety by the child
- Whether the child feels remorse for their actions
Securing a deferred disposition for your child takes hard work and diligence. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you convince the court that a this is in the best interests of your child and the community.
Contact the New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Keith Oliver Criminal Law for Help
The consequences of a juvenile conviction can follow someone for a lifetime. If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, they need an advocate to protect their rights and fight for their future. The team at Keith Oliver Law is ready to get to work on your child’s case and build a strong defense on their behalf.