The Process of a New Jersey Juvenile Delinquency Case
Emotions always run wild when a loved one is charged with a criminal offense but when that loved one is a juvenile, the emotions can be overwhelming. Once a juvenile is taken into custody and charged as a delinquent in Monmouth County, it is absolutely crucial that you speak to an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Juvenile Criminal Justice system operates completely different than that of the adult system. Just determining whether or not the juvenile will be entitled to bail can confusing. To make matters worse, when in it comes to a juvenile criminal case in New Jersey, there are really three different levels of proceedings that a juvenile could be subjected too. The first and most lenient type of hearing is a Juvenile Conference Committee. This type of hearing is typically saved for very low level offenses, by first time offenders. The next type of hearing is referred to as a Juvenile Referee Hearing. The last and most severe type of hearing is a formal judicial proceeding before a Superior Court Judge.
If your child has been taken into custody and is scheduled to appear in front of a Superior Court Judge, we strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney about your options. A conviction, let alone a custodial sentence for a juvenile, can be devastating to their future. If you have unfortunately found yourself in this type of situation and would like to consult with one of the Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law, then please call us at (732)-858-6959. We defend all types of juvenile cases, including incidents like simple assault, shoplifting, burglary, terroristic threats, robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon. We also serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Middletown, Holmdel, Wall Township, Asbury Park, Long Branch, Manalapan, Atlantic Highlands, Hazlet and Eatontown.
What Happens at a Juvenile Criminal Hearing in Monmouth County Superior Court, Family Division
Once a juvenile is taken into custody and charged with delinquent complaint the case must be sent from the local police department to the Family Division of the Superior Court of the County where the incident happened. If the juvenile resides in a different County and there are no co-defendant’s, then the case will be immediately sent to the Superior Court in the County where they reside. If the case does involve co-defendant’s and they reside in different counties, then the case will be heard in the County where the incident happened. Once it is determined what County will have jurisdiction over the case, the next step is determining what type of hearing the juvenile will be scheduled for. If is determined that the case is serious enough then it will be set down for a formal hearing in front of the a Superior Court Family Division Judge. The County Prosecutor’s Office will be in charge of prosecuting all juvenile criminal cases. The case will proceed through traditional methods. Meaning, that the County prosecutor’s office will make a formal plea offer. That offer can be accepted or rejected. If the offer is rejected, the case will proceed through motion practice and then trial. If the case is ultimately tried, it will be a bench trial, that means that the Judge will be the sole trier of fact. In other words, the juvenile is not entitled to a jury trial.
What Type of Sentence Can a Juvenile Judge Impose in Freehold, NJ
If the case is handled through a formal proceeding in front of a Superior Court Judge the potential sentences in the juvenile faces are more severe than if the case was handled through a Juvenile Conference Committee, Intake Conference Hearing or a Referee Hearing. With that being said, the main goal of the juvenile conference committee is to rehabilitate the individual as opposed to punish them. When it comes to imposing a juvenile sentence the potential options can really vary. Some of the most common include a differed disposition, a probationary and a custodial sentence. A differed disposition is similar to the Pretrial Intervention Program in the adult criminal system. It is a diversionary program, whereby if the juvenile completes the probationary terms without violating any of the terms, then the charges will be outright dismissed. Conversely, if the juvenile is placed on probation, they will be called upon to complete special conditions, including but not limited too: community services, drug treatment or anger management counseling. This type of sentence will result in the juvenile being adjudicated as a delinquent, which is the juvenile version of a conviction. If the juvenile is sentence to a term of incarceration that time will be served in a juvenile detention center. The length of the sentence will be dictated the degree of the charge that the juvenile is convicted of. Here is a quick breakdown of the potential exposure:
- Murder – 10 Years
- 1st Degree – 4 Years
- 2nd Degree – 3 Years
- 3rd Degree – 2 Years
- 4th Degree – 1 Year
- Disorderly Persons Offense – 6 Months
Common Criminal Cases Handled in Juvenile Court
The types of juvenile offenses litigated in Juvenile Court in Monmouth County really vary. Some of the more frequent indictable (felony) offenses that we see being handled include but are not limited too: aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of CDS, cyber-harassment and terroristic threats. Other common disorderly persons (misdemeanor) offenses that we see being litigated in Juvenile Court include the following: simple assault, harassment, trespassing, shoplifting and criminal mischief. Regardless of the offense, if the Family Division Intake Unit decides to bypass the Juvenile Conference Committee and the Referee Hearing and schedule the case for a formal proceeding, we strongly urge that you consul with an attorney as soon as possible.
Need a Lawyer for a Juvenile Criminal Case in Freehold, NJ
Being dragged through the criminal justice system can be a nightmare for anyone but when your child is the one being dragged through the system in can be terrifying. If your child or loved one has been charged as a delinquent with a criminal offense like stalking, cyber-harassment, possession of CDS, eluding or assault in Monmouth County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our firm is comprised of attorneys who have dedicated their careers to defending those accused of crimes, including juveniles. Our attorneys are well versed in the juvenile criminal justice system and have been defending those accused of crimes in towns through the County. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Marlboro, Tinton Falls, Ocean Township, Manasquan, Belmar, Neptune, Long Branch and Aberdeen. If you would like to make an appointment to speak to one of our juvenile criminal defense attorneys today, then please contact our office at (732)-858-6959. We provide consultations at your convenience, absolutely free of charge.