We strongly recommend that you hire a criminal defense attorney to represent your child in any juvenile matter, no matter how seemingly slight. Many parents make the mistake of not hiring an attorney when the court notice they receive states that an attorney is not required, such as a notice for a Juvenile Conference Committee hearing or a Counsel Non-mandatory hearing before a Juvenile Hearing Officer. These proceedings can result in a juvenile record. There is also a common misconception that juvenile proceedings are dismissed and expunged when the juvenile turns 18 years of age. That is absolutely not the case. The advice of a juvenile criminal defense attorney should be sought upon your child’s first contact with law enforcement or court personnel.
Can My Child be Held or Detained Due to a Criminal Complaint?
While each matter is analyzed based on its own factors and circumstances, it is possible that your child will be held at a juvenile facility after the filing of a criminal complaint. The determination as to whether your child will be held at a facility or released to your supervision is based on factors including:
- The character and nature of the alleged criminal offense
- The need to protect society from further wrongdoing
- Failures to appear at court hearings
- A record of other criminal complaints or juvenile adjudications
- The juvenile’s failure to remain where placed by the courts.
If the state intends to hold your child, a detention hearing will take place. Hearings must be held as soon as possible and may not occur more than one day following your child’s placement into a juvenile facility. A parent or guardian must be present at this hearing where the court will explain the charges against your child. If the initial hearing results in the detention of your child, a seond hearing will be held within two business days. The child must have legal representation for this hearing. At the hearing the prosecution will present its evidence as to why your child should continue to be held by the state. An experienced and aggressive juvenile defense lawyer can fight to have your child returned to your supervision.
Most Common Types of Juvenile Offenses
Juvenile indiscretions are often momentarily blips motivated by the character and nature of youth and adolescence. Teens do not have the perspective or judgment that age and experience can bring, and can make unfortunate mistakes. However a mistake in one’s youth should not limit the contributions and opportunities the individual can make. Therefore the lawyers of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are dedicated to defending teens and adolescents against charges stemming from alleged:
- Possession or distribution of drugs, especially small amounts of marijuana
- Burglary, theft, shoplifting
- Possession of weapons
- Sexual assault
- Underage drinking
In addition to the work we normally do in an adult criminal case, we spend a great deal of time speaking with children and their parents about how the child can avoid future contact with the law. With over 25 years of experience representing juveniles throughout New Jersey including Atlantic County, Cape May County, Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Egg Harbor Township, Cape May Court House, Wildwood, Absecon, Mays Landing and Somers Point, John Zarych has good insight into the most common patterns of juvenile criminal involvement.
Reasons for Juvenile Crime
The major cause of juvenile crime is not the child’s desire to commit crime, but association with other children who are inclined to get into trouble. We often see children with a great deal of talent and intelligence get charged with offenses. Many of these children come from loving homes and have no reason to get into trouble. They associate with other children who are inclined to commit crimes because they seek excitement and challenge that they have not found in legitimate ways. They soon find that the consequences of seeking excitement through problem friends are quite severe.
However, we find that once a child and his parents understand this pattern, and structure legal and healthy outlets for the child’s energy, the child will most often engage in a quick turnaround. Although the parents may be very knowledgeable in these matters, it is particularly difficult for the child to accept the parents’ insight into his or her situation, especially in the 15- to 17-year-old age group. Although other professionals are certainly capable of providing the child with proper insight, we do not pass on the opportunity to do so.
Attorneys Handling Juvenile Criminal Matters
The Law Offices of John J. Zarych have locations in Northfield, Cape May Court House, Atlantic City and Wildwood, and serve numerous other locations throughout South Jersey. Our juvenile crime defense attorneys can be reached by calling (609) 616-4956. Call us today for a free initial consultation.
Lawyers are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, including holidays.