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Juvenile Lawyer Near Me in East Brunswick NJ Serving Middlesex County and Beyond

Juvenile Lawyer Near Me

Being charged with a juvenile crime in East Brunswick NJ is a extremely stressful event for the entire family. It devastates parents when their child is arrested for a crime. One of your biggest concerns is likely “what will happen to their future?

Juvenile crimes lawyer John B. Fabriele, III has experience defending juvenile charges in Middlesex County NJ

Many parents worry that their child will be punished for the rest of their lives for making a mistake. Luckily, the New Jersey juvenile court system strives to rehabilitate and educate, rather than punish children who have broken the law.

An effective juvenile defense attorney can help get your child the counseling and rehabilitation they need and prevent them from being detained in a juvenile detention facility. Contact John today to discuss how he can help your child get through this difficult time.

New Jersey Juvenile Charges

Our New Jersey juvenile defense lawyer has aggressively advocated on behalf of clients who’ve dealt with a myriad of charges over the past 20+ years. Below are some of the more common offenses we’ve seen in recent years.

  • New Jersey Juvenile False Public Alarm and Terroristic Threats: If your child threatens to ‘shoot up the school,’ they’ve not only issued a terroristic threat, but can also be charged with false public alarm. But this charge can take many forms. Planting a fake bomb, calling in a bomb threat, or even threatening classmates via an app can all result in your child battling criminal charges.
  • Juvenile Criminal Mischief in New Jersey: Because people don’t finish developing and maturing until well into their twenties, juveniles frequently misunderstand what a crime actually is. Many kids think that ‘victimless pranks’ like graffiti, throwing rocks through windows, and breaking mailboxes can’t possibly have serious ramifications. But they can– and do. Whether your child vandalized a house with toilet paper or damaged a car, they could be facing huge fines and a criminal record.
  • Juvenile Assault and Threat Crimes in New Jersey: Getting charged with an assault or threat crime is as simple as someone saying your child’s statements made them fear imminent bodily harm. This can happen almost anywhere, like on a school campus or in your own home. Bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, attacking, fighting, and threatening can all result in these serious charges.
  • New Jersey Juvenile Drug Crimes: As a result of the War on Drugs, New Jersey looks very harshly upon drug crimes—even when committed by a juvenile. You see, it’s true that NJ has specific legislation for possession of marijuana and prescription drugs. But with steroids, cocaine, heroin, MDMA, or sometimes cough medicine, your child’s entire future is at stake.
  • New Jersey Juvenile DWI and Alcohol-Related Crimes: According to SAMHSA, 46% of 16- and 17- year olds reported using alcohol at least once. Despite the prevalence, a DWI or alcohol-related charge can have huge implications for your child’s future. When you work with an expert New Jersey juvenile defense lawyer, your child stands a much better chance of protecting their future.
  • New Jersey Juvenile Sex Crimes: Sex crimes are amongst the most severely punished in the state of NJ. The requirement to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law in New Jersey can hinder your child’s housing and employment options for decades. Whether the charges are criminal sexual contact, sexual assault, endangering a child’s welfare, or another sex crime, a skilled New Jersey juvenile crimes lawyer is indispensable.
  • Juvenile Theft and Property Crimes in New Jersey: These are more like an umbrella term that includes a wide range of offenses, from intent to commit a theft to unlawfully taking something. Shoplifting, criminal mischief, robbery, and burglary all fall into this category. And New Jersey is known to issue staggering penalties for all of them, even when the offender is a juvenile.
  • New Jersey Juvenile Weapon Offenses: The definition of what’s considered a “weapon” in NJ is fairly broad. Items like firearms are obviously included, but less obvious things—such as paintball guns, BB guns, and airsoft guns—can lead to criminal charges, too. Considering the numerous laws surrounding gun ownership in our state, it’s all too easy to find yourself in need of NJ juvenile defense as a result.

New Jersey juvenile criminal attorney protecting the future of Juveniles

Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a juvenile in the eyes of the law. When a juvenile is arrested for a crime, a delinquency hearing is held before a Superior Court Judge. Juveniles are afforded many, but not all, of the same rights as adults. These include the right to an attorney, and the right to remain silent when arrested. However, juveniles often receive other protections; a juvenile’s arrest and criminal record will be sealed and will not be available to the public. This means that your child’s arrest will likely not affect their ability to apply for college or join the military.

In most juvenile cases, in the event the judge adjudicates your child delinquent, he will attempt to find an appropriate punishment that will prevent the crime from happening again. Examples of punishments, other than detention, which judges may favor include:

  • Informal Probation
  • Formal Probation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Counseling Programs
  • Educational Courses
  • Deferred Dispositions

Many factors will go into this decision, including the severity of the offense, the child’s age, their past delinquency history, and the parent’s ability to care for and control the child. In most cases John will be able to argue appropriately that your child should receive an alternative sentence, which does not require detention.

The Juvenile Justice Process

In New Jersey, the juvenile justice process typically follows these steps:

  1. Juvenile is taken into custody if they’re suspected of a crime.
  2. If law enforcement can show probable cause, they may question the juvenile.
  3. Post-questioning, the officials decide whether to charge the juvenile with a complaint of juvenile delinquency.
  4. If the juvenile isn’t released after questioning, a detention hearing will be held the following morning.
  5. It’s determined during the hearing whether the juvenile will be released or continue to be held.
  6. The case is heard by a Family Court judge rather than put before a jury. It’s vital to have a New Jersey juvenile defense lawyer by your side at this stage to mitigate the potential consequences.
  7. All proceedings—from custody to sentencing—must be decided based on the best interests of the child.
  8. The judge can issue a sentence from a wide variety of options that may or not include detention, such as probation, counseling, and community service.

But there are several other alternatives to a formal hearing before a judge, which you can find more information on further below.

At What Age is a Person Considered a Juvenile in New Jersey?

According to New Jersey and federal law, any person under the age of 18 is considered a “juvenile.” This applies to both the civil age of majority, which is the age a person takes legal control of themselves, and the age of criminal responsibility, which is the age a person can be prosecuted as an adult.

Juvenile Questioning Process in New Jersey

According to New Jersey law, there are certain situations where your child can be questioned by law enforcement officials without you present. This, understandably, comes as a bit of a shock to many parents.

That’s why it’s so important to understand how questioning fits into the New Jersey juvenile justice process.

The first thing to know is that Miranda Rights work a bit differently for New Jersey juvenile offenders. Your child isn’t required to understand or acknowledge these rights before an officer can question them. And everything they say is potentially admissible in court once they’ve waived these rights.

So long as all procedures were followed on the basis of providing “utmost fairness” to the juvenile, they can be questioned– even if that juvenile doesn’t know the first thing about their right to remain silent.

Parental Presence During Questioning

When it comes to whether or not you’ll be present during this questioning, it all depends on the circumstances.

Generally speaking, it’s required that a parent/guardian is present when an underage youth. But there are a few situations where this isn’t the case:

  • The parent/guardian(s) refuse to be present
  • The juvenile refuses to share the names and addresses of their parent/guardian(s)
  • Despite a good faith effort, the parent/guardian(s) can’t be located

All in all, the period of time while your child is in custody and being questioned can be among the most stressful in the New Jersey juvenile justice process. Hiring a skilled, experienced New Jersey juvenile defense attorney is the best way to protect your child during this stressful time.

Juvenile Charged as an Adult

The state of New Jersey treats adult and juvenile prosecution quite differently. With juveniles, the focus is making sure the child gets back on the straight and narrow. But for adults, the priority is punishment to deter offenders from future crimes.

Unfortunately, it’s possible for a juvenile to be tried as an adult—and therefore punished far more harshly—depending on the charges.

In New Jersey, this can happen if your child was 15 or older at the time of the alleged offense, and the crime is one of the following:

  • Criminal homicide (excluding death by auto)
  • Drug-induced death
  • Carjacking
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • First degree robbery
  • Sexual assault
  • Second degree aggravated assault
  • Aggravated arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Certain firearms-related offenses

Waiver to Adult Court

When your child meets the above criteria, they may be ‘waived up.’ This is when a Waiver to Adult Court moves your child’s case from Family Court over to Criminal Court for adults.

The state of New Jersey follows a strict process to make this determination. First, a prosecutor files a waiver motion to start the process. The court has to determine probable cause and decide whether to waive the juvenile up.

And when this happens, the juvenile is immediately treated as an adult by the justice system.

Your child can be held in a jail for adults as their case proceeds.

And if they’re found guilty, the potential penalties are the same as for an adult charged with the same offense(s). If incarceration is part of their sentence, they’ll most likely serve it in an adult jail.

What are the Potential Consequences of Being Charged as an Adult Instead of a Juvenile?

The potential consequences of being charged as an adult instead of a juvenile in New Jersey are:

  • Facing probation or prison instead of counseling or community service
  • Receiving a harsher sentence that impacts your child’s life for years to come
  • The negative stigma of an adult conviction compared to a juvenile court judgment
  • Adult convictions are harder to seal or expunge than juvenile court records
  • An overall potentially much worse lot in life than if they’d been tried as a juvenile

Any one of these could cast a long shadow over your child’s adult life. If your family is dealing with this possibility, contact our expert New Jersey juvenile crimes defense lawyer today at (732) 246-0888 for a free consultation.

Juvenile Arrests in New Jersey

There are certain things you hope to never experience as a parent. Finding out your child has been arrested or taken into custody is one of them.

When a juvenile is suspected of committing a criminal offense in New Jersey, they aren’t technically “arrested.” Typically, they’re instead brought in for questioning at police headquarters. And things can escalate quickly from here—one possible outcome is the filing of a criminal complaint.

Though this scenario can be overwhelming, it’s important to remember that you have rights. With the best juvenile defense lawyer near me on your side, you can ensure those rights are always protected.

Juvenile Custody and Detention

In New Jersey, the standards and procedures of juvenile custody and detention are heavily regulated. The state’s focus is protecting juveniles from unnecessary or extensive time in custody.

That’s why minors are often released into the custody of their parents following processing. Even in cases when a juvenile stays in custody, law enforcement officials must abide by strict protocols.

But keep in mind that while detained, several hearings take place to determine when—or if—the juvenile will be released. Hiring a skilled New Jersey juvenile criminal lawyer for this process will help ensure the best possible outcome.

Juvenile Conference Committees

When a case involves a criminal complaint against a juvenile in New Jersey, the first step isn’t a hearing before a judge.

Before that, the county’s Juvenile Unit reviews and evaluates each case. They do so by considering many factors like any prior offenses, the seriousness of the current offense in question, and the age of the juvenile.

Then, they decide where the case should be heard. One option is the Juvenile Conference Committee, or JCC. Rather than formal prosecution, this option is meant to offer an alternative for minor offenses. Some of the sentences they typically issue include community service, restitution, and apology letters.

What Role Does a Juvenile Conference Committee Play in the Juvenile Justice Process?

In the New Jersey juvenile justice process, a Juvenile Conference Committee is an attractive alternative to a formal prosecution and hearing before a judge. The JCC is made up of six to nine volunteers from your local community. The Family Division Judge appoints them, and they also receive training.

When the JCC hears a juvenile case, the parent(s)/guardian(s), juvenile, and victim (when relevant) all discuss the alleged offense. After hearing from all parties and reviewing evidence, the JCC recommends specific penalties to the Family Division Judge.

Juvenile Referees

When local police file a criminal complaint against a juvenile, it must be decided how the case will proceed. A formal hearing before a judge is a possibility, but it’s far from the only one.

Juvenile Referees offer another alternative to more formal proceedings. They’re appointed by the Family Court Judge, approved by the Chief Justice, and they must meet New Jersey’s specific criteria to qualify.

A Juvenile Referee hearing is an informal opportunity for both the juvenile and the State to submit evidence and call witnesses. After hearing both sides, the Juvenile Referee will find the juvenile “not delinquent” or “delinquent.” Finally, they’ll make recommendations for case disposition.

Juvenile Sentencing

Juvenile sentencing in New Jersey is quite different from the way adults are sentenced. The North Star of the NJ juvenile justice system is the ‘best interests of the child.’ For adults, however, the focus is discouraging future offenses.

Common penalties include:

  • Probation, where the juvenile is required to follow strict protocols or face a harsher sentence
  • Restitution, which is when the victim’s property damages, medical bills, and lost wages are repaid by you/your child
  • Mental health treatment to support your child in not committing future offenses
  • Fines paid to the state, which can be ordered in addition to restitution
  • Community service to help your child understand the impact their actions have on the community
  • Detention, wherein the judge opts to have your child detained in a juvenile detention facility similar to jail

But more serious penalties are always possible, too. Driver’s license suspension and transfer of custody to a relative are all potential outcomes.

When you have lawyers for juvenile cases like John B. Fabriele, III, advocating aggressively on your child’s behalf, they stand a better chance of avoiding the worst-case scenario.

What court juvenile cases are handled in Middlesex County NJ?

Juvenile cases are handled in the Chancery Division, Family Part, at 120 New Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Phone (732) 645-4300.

Deferred Disposition

A ‘deferred disposition’ is when the judge postpones the final outcome of a juvenile criminal case for up to one year. Instead, they impose specific probationary requirements the juvenile must follow during the deferral period.

If completed successfully, the complaint will be dismissed. Most importantly, the juvenile’s record gets expunged. But if the probationary conditions are violated, the complaint goes back to court for final disposition.

Juvenile Record Sealing in New Jersey

When it comes to juvenile delinquency penalties in New Jersey, the ‘best interests of the child’ are a major consideration. It’s the reason why consequences are often community service and counseling rather than serving time in detention.

Despite all of this, having an NJ juvenile record of delinquency can seriously affect the rest of your life.

Getting your record sealed—regardless of whether your charges were dismissed, or what you were sentenced to—can help you get a truly fresh start in life. As a successful New Jersey juvenile delinquency lawyer, John B. Fabriele, III, can work with you to determine your eligibility and complete the process.

New Jersey juvenile delinquency attorney defending families from juvenile mistakes

When your child is arrested, it can be humiliating. Not only is your child’s behavior under a microscope, often times your parenting may be too. If a judge deems a parent negligent or abusive, they may have your child removed from your home, or order social services to step in and provide your family with resources. John will defend your parenting and argue for a result that is in your family’s best interest. He will explain all of your legal options, and do everything possible to keep your family intact. Call today to schedule a free case evaluation with New Jersey Juvenile Lawyer John B. Fabriele, III at the Law Office of John B. Fabriele, III, LLC located at 197 NJ-18 #203n, East Brunswick, NJ 08816. You can also reach our office at (732) 246-0888