Need a Lawyer for Parsippany juvenile caseNot every juvenile case in New Jersey will go to a formal hearing before a Juvenile Judge. Some cases will be referred to “Juvenile Referees.” These individuals act as a go-between for the minor facing the charges and the judge. Juvenile referees hold hearings, but the proceedings are much less formal. The juvenile referee is trained and certified to fulfill their role. They will often decide cases using much less stringent evidence requirements. They may also make more creative recommendations regarding how a juvenile should be treated if the child is found to be “delinquent.” Here are the basics of what you need to know about Juvenile Referees if your son or daughter needs to appear for a juvenile case in New Jersey.

What is a Juvenile Referee in New Jersey?

A Juvenile Referee is appointed by the Family Court Judge. He or she is also approved by the Chief Justice. The State of New Jersey also has specific requirements that this person must meet to serve in this role, including undergoing training and education. Generally, the Juvenile Referee will hear pleas from juveniles and conduct hearings if the juvenile pleads “not guilty.” As a rule, more serious offenses (those that are considered at least third degree crimes) will not be heard by a Juvenile Referee. Sometimes, turning to a Referee is a logical next step if you have had an unsuccessful Juvenile Conference Committee meeting or if the case involves a repeat offender or violation of probation.

Hearing Before a Juvenile Referee in NJ

Trials that involve Juvenile Referees are far more informal than traditional juvenile hearings. Nonetheless, like a conventional hearing, both the state and the juvenile can call witnesses and submit evidence. The minor can testify on his or her own behalf if they wish as well. Once all of the evidence is presented, the Juvenile Referee will determine whether the juvenile is “delinquent” or “not delinquent,” just as they would do in an adult hearing that involves a “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict from a jury. However, there are no juries used in these types of hearings.

The Juvenile Referee will take recommendations from the law enforcement officer and the victim as to how the case should be decided. Nonetheless, the Referee has the ultimate decision-making power. He or she will then make a recommendation as to how the case should be resolved. That recommendation is then passed along to the Juvenile Judge for a final decision. Many times, the Juvenile Judge will use the advice of the Referee and defer to his or her judgment regarding any factual disputes, but not always.

Need a Lawyer for Morristown Juvenile Referee Hearing

The Juvenile Referee will ultimately recommend how the juvenile’s case should be handled. There are a wide variety of potential options that the Referee can suggest to the judge. For example, he or she may recommend dismissal, community service, fines, mental health evaluations, supervised probation, suspension of a driver’s license, and other more creative options.

Although a Juvenile Referee hearing is informal, it is still highly advisable to have an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you and your child obtain the best outcome. Presenting evidence and arguments in your son or daughter’s defense is a vital part of the process. The recommendations that the Referee makes are often used by the Juvenile Court, so getting it right the first time is very important. You certainly have a right to a lawyer in these proceedings and making that decision early in the process can help you be best prepared for what happens next. Call our Morris County Juvenile Defense Attorneys at (908) 336-5008 for more information on this unique juvenile process and find out how we can help you.

The juvenile court system in New Jersey has a number of nuances that are provided as opportunities for minors who would otherwise enter the criminal justice system. The Juvenile Conference Committee (JCC) is one such alternative venue for juvenile cases. The Committee will hear cases that do not go to the Superior Court, Family Division. Without this Committee, most cases involving minors could go straight to a Juvenile Judge. Instead, the Juvenile Conference Committee operates as a separate division of the Superior Court in every county in New Jersey.

Juveniles accused of minor offenses, who have either never been accused of a prior crime or they have one other conviction, may have the opportunity to go through the JCC instead of seeing a Juvenile Judge. Minor offenses (known as disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses) will generally include things like disorderly conduct, shoplifting (petty theft), trespassing, and criminal mischief.

What is a Juvenile Conference Committee in New Jersey?

The JCC includes six to nine citizens who volunteer to serve on the panel. They are appointed by the local Family Division Judge. These individuals will hear and decide matters involving juveniles who have been charged with committing criminal offenses. Each volunteer must go through training to sit as a member of the JCC in New Jersey.

If a juvenile is assigned to see the JCC, he or she will receive a notice in the mail for a conference. The notice will be addressed to the minor and his or her parents or guardians. The notice may also request that you bring specific information, including medical records and school reports. The victim or individual who complained about the minor’s actions will also be invited to attend. The parents or guardians and the alleged victim, if any, will also be invited to discuss the offense and related issues with the Committee. All JCC proceedings are confidential. That means that everything the minor (and the parents, guardians, and victims) says will be kept private.

Once the Committee has heard the evidence and charges, it will consider the facts presented to it, and make recommendations to a judge for a resolution.  The JCC will consider all aspects of the juvenile’s life in deciding what type of resolution is appropriate for the situation.

What are the Possible Outcomes of a Juvenile Conference in NJ?

The focus of a Juvenile Conference Committee is on the rehabilitation of the minor. Any resolution will have the best interests of the child in mind—with an eye toward personal development and growth. In many situations, possible recommendations will include things like performing volunteer work, paying back any victim for damages or losses (fines), or mental health counseling. Creating apology letters or writing essays regarding the minor’s actions may also be potential punishments as well.

By law, a Juvenile Conference Committee is required to consider the following in all of its processes and in creating a resolution:

  • Providing balanced attention to the protection of the community;
  • The imposition of accountability for offenses committed;
  • Fostering interaction and dialogue between the offender, the victim, and the community as a whole; and
  • Development of competencies to help the minor become a responsible and productive member in the community.

One of the primary focuses of the JCC is to prevent future misconduct, which may include following up with the juvenile in the future as well.

Have a Juvenile Conference Committee Date?

Working through the JCC is generally beneficial for a minor when dealing with allegations of juvenile misconduct in New Jersey. However, it is a good idea to have an attorney who has experience with his unique process in order to ensure the best possible result for your child. An experienced New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyer will be able to craft a resolution that will be acceptable to the JCC and provide the most benefit for the juvenile involved to prevent permanent damage for the young person’s future. The attorneys at our firm provide this type of assistance for juveniles charged with offenses in Morris County and throughout New Jersey. Learn more about how we can help you by contacting our team at (908) 336-5008 or filling out an online form. We provide free consultations.

Stationhouse Adjustments in NJ Juvenile Cases

Morristown Juvenile Case AttorneyJuveniles are treated differently in the criminal justice system in New Jersey, and rightfully so. Children generally do not need the harsh treatment that adults receive through the criminal justice system. Instead, taking steps to focus on rehabilitation is much more critical for minors suspected of committing criminal offenses.

When a juvenile is taken into custody for doing something that would otherwise be a crime if an adult was engaging in the act, then law enforcement often has the option to decline to file a formal criminal complaint. Instead, they can conduct what is known as a “stationhouse adjustment.”

What is a Stationhouse Adjustment?

Police will sometimes decide to make a stationhouse adjustment instead of filing a formal criminal complaint against a juvenile in New Jersey. This process usually involves having a meeting with the minor, along with his or her parents (or guardian), and, in some cases, the victim of the alleged crime. This group of people will sit down and discuss the offense. The juvenile will also have to go through some kind of punishment for his or her behavior, such as doing community service, paying restitution, or writing an essay.

The idea behind a stationhouse adjustment is to teach the juvenile a lesson without forcing them to go through the criminal justice process, including the formal court appearance. It allows them to avoid having something on their criminal record as well. It is faster, easier, and includes immediate consequences for a juvenile’s actions. It may also service the victims of a particular types of offenses, such as those whose property was vandalized.

When Is a Stationhouse Adjustment an Option?

Stationhouse adjustments can only be used for certain types of offenses. These include things like petty disorderly persons offenses, disorderly person offenses, fourth-degree offenses if the juvenile has no prior record, and municipal ordinance violations. Officers will generally use stationhouse adjustments for minor crimes committed by first-time offenders. Some of the most common offenses include things like trespassing, shoplifting (petty theft), and disorderly conduct. Charges related to controlled substances, sex crimes, third-degree offenses, and violations of parole are not offenses where a stationhouse adjustment is appropriate or permitted.

When determining whether to use a stationhouse adjustment or file a formal criminal complaint, the officer involved will consider factors like the nature and seriousness of the offense, the age of the juvenile involved, and the cooperation of all of the parties involved. For example, if a victim was seriously harmed by the juvenile’s actions, then the officer may be less likely to use a stationhouse adjustment.

Officers can also use stationhouse adjustments when a juvenile is engaging in an activity that is not necessarily illegal, but it is dangerous to themselves or others or disruptive. The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has encouraged officers to use the stationhouse adjustment process as the first alternative to taking a juvenile into custody and making a formal charge. Police are permitted to use curbside warnings as a substitute as well.

How Does a Stationhouse Adjustment Work?

A juvenile officer will generally conduct the stationhouse adjustment. However, if one is not available, then the arresting officer or the detective can consult with the juvenile officer to sign off on the stationhouse adjustment as well. The officer will ask the juvenile, parent or guardian, and the victim to the police station to discuss the issue. If a victim does not agree to address the problem, then a stationhouse adjustment may not be possible.

Our team can work with you and your child to encourage that an officer use a stationhouse adjustment in certain circumstances. Contact The Tormey Law Firm for more information about how we can help you and your child if you are trying to maneuver through the juvenile justice system in New Jersey. Having an experienced juvenile criminal defense attorney can be a helpful asset under these circumstances. Call (908) 336-5008 or send us an email for more information.

Juvenile Defense Lawyers Morristown, NJ

New Jersey Juvenile Court LawyersNew Jersey uses the “JJC” or Juvenile Justice Commission to address all of the criminal cases alleged against those considered minors under NJ Law. The terms “minor” and “juvenile” are used interchangeably to refer to individuals under the age of 18. The JJC is the entity responsible for all planning and policy development related to the juvenile justice system. It was created in 1995 to help ensure that juveniles had their own criminal justice system that was less punitive than the adult system. The focus is three major issues: the care, custody, and rehabilitation of minors in New Jersey. Although the juvenile system is dedicated to upholding the standard of the best interests of the child, this should not lead you to believe that juvenile charges cannot result in severe consequences for those found guilty.

Juvenile Court in New Jersey

In addition to protecting the interests of juveniles in the system, the JJC also protects citizens throughout the state of New Jersey by ensuring that there is a program that addresses minors who may be considered dangerous to others. Public safety and personal responsibility are at the forefront of the JJC’s goals. The focus is also always on encouraging young people to be productive, independent, and law-abiding citizens in New Jersey. Unfortunately, situations occur in which young people are charged with criminal offenses such as possession of marijuana, cocaine possession, disorderly conduct, shoplifting, criminal mischief, trespassing, assault, and other crimes that force them into the Juvenile Court System. When these difficult scenarios occur, it is critical to have an experienced juvenile defense attorney protecting the rights of the minor and working toward the best possible result.

If your child has been charged with a juvenile criminal offense in New Jersey, the experienced juvenile lawyers at The Tormey Law Firm can help. Our attorneys defend minors in Family Court in Morris County and throughout New Jersey regularly and we are committed to protecting your child’s future from the detrimental effects of juvenile charges. Contact our firm anytime for an absolutely free and confidential consultation about your child’s  juvenile case.

NJ Juvenile Justice Process

How a Juvenile Enters the Criminal Court System

A young person enters the JJC system through a complaint process. The complaint charges the minor with a delinquent act. These delinquent acts would be considered a crime if an adult engaged in this type of activity.
Law enforcement can, and often does, take a juvenile into custody when he or she believes that a delinquent act has occurred. In addition to signing a delinquency complaint, an officer can also:

  • Release the juvenile to his or her parents or guardians with a warning or reprimand
  • Conduct a station house adjustment

The minor will be held in a secure detention facility in some cases. The officer must make a referral to court intake services for this type of admission to take place. The juvenile can also start the juvenile court process through non-law enforcement complaint or through a family crisis intervention unit referral. Family crisis intervention units (JFCIUs) divert specific problems away from the court. These specifically deal with family issues, including problems associated with:

  • Truancy
  • Runaways
  • Incorrigibility
  • Serious family conflict

JFCIUs provide crisis intervention services right away to try to stabilize the family situation. The JFCIU may also refer the family to other available community agencies as well.

Court Jurisdiction in NJ Juvenile Cases

The Family Court has jurisdiction over juvenile delinquency cases. However, a juvenile can also be waived into adult court as well. It is more likely that the minor will be treated as an adult if the delinquent act alleged is particularly violent, such as armed robbery, carjacking, aggravated assault with a weapon, manslaughter, or aggravated sexual assault.

Unlike the adult criminal justice system, minors charged with crimes in New Jersey generally appear in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county where they live, not the county where the alleged offense occurred. In other words, if your child is charged with a juvenile offense in Hackensack but you live in Parsippany, their juvenile case will be heard in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, NJ.

Possible Outcomes of a Juvenile Court Case in New Jersey

The next step in the JJC process is to determine whether a minor will be detained before their Family Court hearing. After that, the court will determine the “disposition” of this case. Disposition is another word for the result of a juvenile case. Assuming the charges are not dismissed, additional options for disposition may include:

  • Probation
  • Community-based services
  • Out-of-home services for child behavioral health
  • Fines
  • Restitution
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Incarceration in a juvenile detention center

The court may also use a “deferred disposition” to resolve a juvenile matter. This option allows the juvenile to avoid being adjudicated delinquent (same as a conviction for an adult) as long as he or she complies with certain conditions. It’s designed to be a second chance for a minor. The youth can avoid going to court and jail, paying fines, and having a criminal record. A deferred disposition is similar to a diversionary program for an adult, with terms of probation that ultimately prevent a juvenile charge from tarnishing the child’s record.

Juvenile Facing Charges in Morris County, New Jersey

If your child has been accused of a crime, navigating the juvenile justice system can be confusing and overwhelming for you and your family. Get legal help by calling the Morristown criminal defense team at The Tormey Law Firm. We have successfully defended countless juveniles in Family Court and adult court in New Jersey and we are fully prepared to present your child’s case in a way that will minimize the impact on his or her future.

Teenagers in Roxbury, NJ Accused of Posting Threatening Image of Gun on Social Media

Juvenile Crime Lawyers Roxbury NJTwo students at Roxbury Township High School were recently placed under arrest and charged with terroristic threats for allegedly posting a threatening message and image of a gun on Snapchat. According to authorities in Roxbury, New Jersey, the two juveniles, a 16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy, used social media to deliver the threat. The message reportedly read as follows: “I just can’t wait to get back from Spring Break.”

A short time after 1:30 p.m., the Roxbury Township Police Department got word of the threatening message and sent Roxbury cops to the school to make sure that anyone in the building was safe. The next day, despite the fact that it was still spring break for students in the Roxbury School District, police officers remained stationed at the school. Meanwhile, Roxbury detectives investigated and determined the identities of the two teenage suspects. Both were later arrested by Roxbury law enforcement.

Roxbury High School officials sent an email to parents of students at the school and assured them that the situation was under control. The same email, written by Roxbury Superintendent Loretta Radulic, was later posted on the official school website.

Harsh Penalties for Juvenile Offenses in Roxbury, NJ

The two suspects have been charged with multiple juvenile crime offenses for terroristic threats, causing false public alarm, and cyber harassment. While the case works its way through the criminal justice system, the suspects are being detained at the Morris County Juvenile Detention Center in Morristown, NJ.

If the underage suspects are ultimately convicted on the most serious charges of terroristic threats, they could potentially face severe penalties. Although the NJ juvenile justice system tends to emphasize treatment and rehabilitation over incarceration, NJ prosecutors will still go after defendants accused of committing certain kinds of juvenile threat crimes – particularly after the recent school shootings in Florida and elsewhere that have drawn much public scrutiny over the inability of law enforcement to keep children safe.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Roxbury Juvenile Offense Attorney

If your child was arrested and charged with a juvenile crime in Roxbury, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Dover, Morristown, or anywhere else in Morris County, NJ, it is imperative that you talk to a qualified Morris County juvenile crime lawyer. Travis J. Tormey is an experienced New Jersey juvenile crime attorney who can defend your child against serious charges. Contact Attorney Tormey today.

Juvenile Crime Attorneys in Randolph NJOfficials at the main high school in Randolph, NJ recently apologized to some of the students who were required to undergo blood testing at a football game. The testing was imposed on the students in conjunction with an investigation into alleged underage possession of alcohol.

The controversial situation occurred on the campus of Randolph High School in Morris County, New Jersey. School officials were seated in the front row at a school football game when someone reportedly tossed a beer bottle from above and nearly hit one of the adults.

Randolph High School officials then looked into the matter and, as part of the investigation, enforced school rules that require students to be tested for alcohol and drugs through blood and urinalysis screening.

The mandatory testing caused an uproar among students and their parents and led to the Randolph School Board getting involved. Now the Randolph superintendent of schools has issued an apology to students who did not use alcohol or drugs at the game. Jennifer Fano recently stated that it was regrettable that the “well-behaved and respectful students who did not consume alcohol or illegal substances” had to be tested.

Five underage students reportedly tested positive for alcohol, but it is not clear if any of the minors were charged with a juvenile crime such as underage possession of alcohol.

For additional information about this case, read the NJ.com article, “Superintendent Says Sorry to Kids Who Tested Clean for Booze at Football Game.”

Randolph NJ Juvenile Arrest LawyersThe Randolph Board of Education recently issued a ruling that affirms the decision made by Randolph High School administrators to test several students for drug and alcohol use.

A number of adult residents of Randolph, NJ were angry after they found out that roughly 75 underage students at Randolph High School were forced to undergo drug/alcohol screenings. Administrators at Randolph High School ordered the drug and alcohol tests after a beer bottle was reportedly found in the bleachers during a football game.

The Randolph Township School District later investigated the situation and determined that school officials had a legal right to order the screenings because they had “reasonable suspicion” that the juveniles may have been illegally using drugs or alcohol. Moreover, since no student came forward to admit ownership of the beer bottle, school administrators believed that they needed to test everyone.

The tests reportedly resulted in five high school students testing positive for alcohol use. Officials have not indicated whether any of the students have been charged with a juvenile offense for underage possession of alcohol.

For more information about this case, go to the NJ.com article, “Dozens of Students Rightfully Tested for Drugs, Alcohol, Officials Say.”

Florham Park NJ Juvenile Crime AttorneysFlorham Park NJ police recently apprehended a NY teen who reportedly stole a motor vehicle and then caused an accident during a police pursuit.

The suspect, a 17-year-old boy from NY, reportedly stole the car in Florham Park. According to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, a patrol officer received an alert about the theft and quickly found the suspect. The cop tried to stop the teen suspect in a parking lot, but suspect allegedly hit the accelerator and tried to drive away.

Only a few moments passed before the juvenile suspect reportedly crashed the stolen vehicle on Park Avenue. The teenager then allegedly tried to make a run for it, but he was soon captured by police.

The suspect has been charged with numerous offenses, including eluding police, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, obstruction of justice, and hindering apprehension. The suspect was also cited for several traffic offenses.

Since the suspect is underage, it is possible that he will be charged as a juvenile, not as an adult.

For more information about this case, see the NJ.com article, “Teen Crashed Stolen Car During Police Chase, Cops Say.”

Morristown Juvenile Crime AttorneysA woman who previously worked as an officer at the Morris County Juvenile Detention Center in Morristown New Jersey pleaded guilty to hitting a teenager at the facility.

The suspect, a 32-year-old Newark woman, got into a verbal argument with a teenager at the juvenile detention facility in November 2016.

The suspect later claimed that the teenager spit at her. The suspect reportedly responded by violently attacking the victim. The suspect reportedly punched and kicked the teen girl while she was handcuffed and on the ground.

Detectives with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the incident and determined that “there was no justifiable need for force to be used” against the juvenile. The suspect was subsequently arrested and charged with simple assault.

The suspect ultimately avoided trial by reaching a plea agreement with Morris County NJ prosecutors. The plea deal called for her to be sentenced to one year of probation and consent to a ban that prohibits her from working in law enforcement in New Jersey.

When a minor is convicted of a juvenile crime in Morris County, New Jersey, they are often sent to the Morris County Juvenile Detention Center in Morristown, NJ. In this particular case, authorities have not stated what type of juvenile offense the teen victim might have committed prior to being sent to the detention facility.

For additional information about this case, read the NJ.com article, “No Jail for Juvenile Detention Officer Who Hit Handcuffed Teen, Report Says.”

Morristown NJ Underage Drinking AttorneysTravis J. Tormey recently defended a client against charges of underage possession of alcohol in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15.

The client was 20 years old and was allegedly caught with a red Solo cup filled with beer while attending the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Morristown, New Jersey. Despite the fact that the client had no prior criminal history, she still faced significant, potentially life-altering consequences if convicted in this case. Based on the underage drinking charge being classified as a disorderly persons offense, the client was facing a permanent criminal charge on her record, a $1,000 fine, up to six months in the Morris County Jail in Morristown NJ, and a driver’s license suspension for six months.

The good news for the client was that she had Travis Tormey and the Tormey Law Firm on her side. As soon as the client hired the Tormey Law Firm, Mr. Tormey immediately got to work fighting on her behalf. Mr. Tormey spoke with the local prosecutor and highlighted the client’s lack of criminal history, her age, and her cooperation with law enforcement. Mr. Tormey was able to negotiate a favorable plea arrangement on behalf of the client. The client ultimately pleaded guilty to a local ordinance violation, which is a violation of local law and is similar to a littering ticket, noise violation, or leaving garbage at the curb on the wrong day. The end result was the client had to pay a fine. This meant that the client was able to preserve her clean record, avoid jail time, and maintain her NJ driving privileges.

This was a tremendous result for the client and for the Tormey Law Firm.