When juveniles are accused of engaging in criminal conduct, they are not treated the same way as their adult counterparts. There are several ways that the juvenile criminal system is different from the normal criminal system in New Jersey. One of those differences involves the length of time that juveniles may be detained without a hearing.
If prosecutors have probable cause to believe that a juvenile has committed a crime, then the accused may be taken into custody right away. An initial detention hearing should be held within 24 hours of the defendant’s arrest to determine if they should be remanded in custody. If the defendant did not have legal representation and was detained, then they may be afforded a second detention hearing within two days of the first. Furthermore, a probable cause hearing must be administered to ensure that charges are justified, and detention review hearings will occur at intervals of 14 and 21 days to assess whether continued detention is proper.
If you or your child are facing juvenile charges in New Jersey, get help from our experienced Atlantic City juvenile criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by dialing (609) 616-4956.
The Juvenile Court Process in New Jersey
After being arrested as a juvenile in New Jersey, police have the authority to take you into custody right away. Once you have been placed into custody, an initial detention hearing should be held within 24 hours. At this hearing, the judge will determine whether you should be remanded into custody for the duration of your case. There are multiple factors that may be evaluated when determining if you will be detained. The court’s primary concerns will be whether you are likely to attend required court dates and whether you may be deemed a danger to society upon your release. If you already have a lengthy criminal record, you are more likely to be detained while your case is pending.
Within two days of your initial detention hearing, a probable cause hearing will be held to evaluate the charges being levied against you. In order to be detained, the prosecution must prove that there is probable cause to believe you are guilty of the crime at issue. If they cannot prove that there is a good chance you will be convicted at trial, then you may be released.
Furthermore, if you were detained at your initial detention hearing and did not have legal representation present, then a second detention hearing will be also be held within two days of your initial hearing. At your second detention hearing, you may be represented by our experienced Brigantine criminal defense attorneys or by a public defender appointed by the court.
Finally, if you have been detained, a detention review hearing will be conducted within 14 court days of the previous detention hearing. At this hearing, the court will assess whether you should remain in detention. If you remain detained, then additional review hearings shall continue to be held at intervals that do not exceed 21 court days. You should be represented by legal counsel at all such hearings.
Factors Considered by the Court When Deciding if a Juvenile Should Be Detained in New Jersey
The judge may evaluate multiple factors when deciding if a juvenile should be detained in New Jersey. First, the severity of the crime being alleged will likely be considered. If a defendant is being charged with a violent crime, then it is more likely that they will be detained.
Furthermore, the age of a juvenile and their ties to the community will be taken into account. Younger defendants and those with meaningful attachments to their local communities are more likely to be released. Also, juveniles under the age of 11 may only be detained if specific criteria have been met.
Finally, the record of the juvenile’s prior adjudications and their record of appearance or non-appearance at previous court proceedings will be evaluated. If the judge has reason to believe that the defendant may not attend court dates as required, then the accused has a higher chance of being detained throughout the duration of their case.
Can You Bail Your Child Out of Jail if They Are Being Detained in New Jersey?
The juvenile justice system operates separately from the adult system. The purpose of the juvenile system is to rehabilitate juveniles, as opposed to punishing them. Accordingly, most juveniles are not ordered to serve pretrial detention. Rather, they are sent home with their parents.
Still, in extreme cases such as those involving especially violent crimes, juveniles may be remanded in custody while their cases are pending. If your child has been placed into pretrial detention, then you will not be able to post bail. Instead, you will have a chance to context this decision at your child’s initial detention hearing. Furthermore, you may have additional opportunities to contest this decision as the second detention hearing and at any subsequent detention review hearings.
Can Juveniles Be Detained in Adult Facilities in New Jersey?
If a juvenile has been detained, then they must be held at a juvenile facility. If they are over 18 years old, then it is possible for them to be transferred from a detention center to an adult prison. However, most juveniles who are detained will remain in juvenile centers until their cases have concluded.
What Happens if a Juvenile Turns 18 Before They Are Charged in New Jersey?
As long as the crime at issue was committed when the defendant was a juvenile, then the juvenile justice system will be adhered to. However, it is possible for prosecutors to petition for juveniles to be charged in adult courts. When these petitions are filed, formal hearings must be held for judges to issue their decisions.
If You Are Being Held in Custody as a Juvenile in New Jersey, Call Our Law Firm for Help
Seek assistance from our experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers by calling Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free evaluation of your case.