Juvenile Detention Hearings in New Jersey

What Happens at a Bail Hearing in Juvenile Court in NJ

The aspect of detention is just another example of how different the adult criminal justice system is from the juvenile criminal justice system in New Jersey. Emotions will always run wild when a loved one is taking into custody and charged with a criminal offense but when that loved one is a child, emotions can be over overwhelming. Understanding the juvenile criminal justice process is paramount to building a successful defense. New Jersey tends to be very protective of juveniles and will typically agree to release a juvenile charged with a crime to a parent or guardian.  If a child is charged with a criminal offense and is not released to the custody of a parent or guardian, then a hearing on detention must take place the following morning to determine detention. As one would imagine, these types of hearings are very important as they set the tone for the case. Securing the release of a juvenile is not only important for being able to successfully prepare to defend the allegations but it is also important to help keep the juvenile calm throughout the process. If one of your loved ones has been taken into juvenile custody and is scheduled for a detention hearing in Monmouth County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our attorneys have been representing juvenile’s charged with serious offenses like burglaryunlawful possession of a weapon, carjacking, robbery and aggravated assault in towns throughout New Jersey, including towns throughout Monmouth County. We serve towns like Asbury Park, Holmdel, Colts Neck, Wall Township, Ocean Township, Manalapan, Tinton Falls, Highlands, Long Branch and Freehold. If you would like to schedule an initial consultation with one of our Monmouth County Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys today, please contact our office at (732)-858-6959..

Understanding What Goes into Determining Bail for Juveniles in Monmouth County

As touched upon above, pursuant to Court Rule 5:21(a), the release of a juvenile taken into custody is preferred. Rule 5:21(a) states in pertinent part: “Whenever it will not adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of a juvenile, the juvenile shall be released pending disposition to an authorized person…” In fact, a juvenile can not be detained in New Jersey without the approval of a judge or a court intake officer. More often then not, a juvenile charged with lower level offenses like: cyber-harassmentsimple assaultshoplifting, possession of CDS or theft of movable property will be released to a parent or guardian  on their own recognizance, which is commonly referred to by its acronym, ROR. That simple means that the individual will be released on a summons to appear in Court. Pursuant to Rule 5:21(c), an ROR release is appropriate if:

  • (a) The nature of the offense charged is such that the juvenile’s release would not constitute a danger to the community;
  • (b) There is no parent, guardian or other appropriate adult custodian to whom the juvenile could be released and all reasonable measures have been exhausted by either police or court personnel to locate and contact any such person;
  • (c) The juvenile is at least 14 years of age;
  • (d) The identity and address of the juvenile are verified; and
  • (c) Reasonable certainty exists on the part of the releasing authority that upon release,

Even if a juvenile is temporarily detained, a Judge, at any point in time, may order release the juvenile from the detention center.

How Do Detention Hearings Work in Juvenile Court in Freehold?

If the juvenile is not released from custody, then pursuant to Rule 5:21-3, an initial detention hearing must be conducted no later than the next morning following the juvenile being taken into custody. At this hearing the Judge will have to conduct a preliminary probable cause review as well hear arguments from both sides as to the pretrial detention. When determining if detention is appropriate, the Judge is bound to make specific findings on the following two factors:

  • Detention is necessary to secure the presence of the juvenile at the next hearing;
    • Judge should take into consideration if the juvenile has any record of recent willful failure to appear at juvenile court proceedings or the juvenile’s unauthorized departure from a placement made by the court or the court intake service.
  • That the physical safety of persons or property of the community would be seriously threatened if a juvenile, charged with an offense as hereafter set forth, were not detained.
    • For purposes of this rule a juvenile may be detained to protect the physical safety of persons or property only if the juvenile is charged with an offense which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a crime. That means an indictable (felony) offense.
    • If the charge would constitute a repetitive disorderly persons offense, the juveniles shall be detained only if the judge determines that there is a likelihood that upon adjudication of delinquency a custodial disposition will be ordered.

If the Judge determines detention is appropriate, then they must place their findings as to the following factors on the record:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
  • The age of the juvenile;
  • The juvenile’s ties to the community;
  • The juvenile’s record of prior adjudications, if any; and
  • The juvenile’s record of appearance or non-appearance at previous court proceedings.

If a juvenile is detained, then a formal probable cause hearing shall be conducted within two days of detention. If probable cause is not found, then the Judge must release the juvenile from custody immediately. Since most criminal cases involve a multitude of charges, if probable cause is not found on the most serious charge but is found on another less serious offenses, counsel can make an argument for release as well.

Frequently Asked Question Related to Detention in Juvenile Cases:

New Jersey’s juvenile criminal justice system does not use phrases like “place under arrest” or even “charged with a crime” when it comes to juvenile cases like it would for an adult. Instead they use the phrase “taking into custody” and “charged as a delinquent”. This can often be confusing but in reality it is just different lingo as opposed to different concepts.

Unlike the adult criminal justice system, if the juvenile is detained, a detention review hearing must be conducted within fourteen (14) days. If it is determined that the juvenile still shall be detained, a bail review hearing shall be conducted every three weeks (21 days) throughout the duration of the case.

If the juvenile is to be detained, they must be detained in a juvenile detention center and not a County Jail. If they are over the age of eighteen then it is possible for them to be transferred from the local detention center to the local county jail where they will be housed with adults. Typically speaking, the juveniles stay detained in the local juvenile detention center as their case winds through the juvenile criminal justice system.

As long as the commission of the offense occurred when the individual was under the age of eighteen (18) then the juvenile bail procedure must be followed. As would follow, the case must also proceed through the juvenile criminal justice system and it would not automatically be transferred to adult court. With that being said, it is always possible for the prosecution to file for a formal waiver and seek to have the juvenile prosecuted in adult court. For more information on Juvenile Waivers in New Jersey, please click the link.

Speak to a Freehold Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney about Detention Hearing Today

Keith Oliver Criminal Law is comprised of attorneys whom have dedicated their careers to defending those accused of crimes and that includes juveniles. As you can see from reading above, the juvenile criminal justice system as it relates to bail especially is run completely different than the adult. Although the concepts can be interchangeable at times the logic used behind the weighing of the facts is completely different. If you would like to set up an initial consultation today about a juvenile criminal case that you have going on in Monmouth County, please contact (732)-858-6959. Our attorneys are available to help you figure out all your options.

Related Juvenile Resources