Written by attorney Kenneth Albert Vercammen

Juvenile Delinquency in New Jersey

Juvenile Delinquency in New Jersey

Kenneth Vercammen's Law office represents individuals charged with juvenile and criminal offenses. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. Criminal charges can cost you. If convicted, you can face jail, fines, Probation and other penalties. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal offenses in juvenile matters, and other offenses. Our website provides information on criminal offenses we can be retained to represent people. Our article Juvenile Law provides more details on juvenile cases.

Handling juvenile delinquency cases is becoming a sub-specialty that requires special knowledge of the juvenile justice system. Juvenile cases are difficult to handle for different reasons: (1) The juveniles often refuse to admit to their attorney any participation in the offense despite clear guilt. (2) The parents sometimes refuse to acknowledge their child's involvement. (3) Different rules and court systems are involved. By commitment and preparation, you can obtain excellent results and satisfy clients. Too often lawyers throw up their hands when a client presents a criminal charge. Rather than simply suggest that a client plead guilty and avoid litigation, an attorney should accept the challenge and apply his best legal talents to protect the client's rights. We advise potential clients of some of the mandatory penalties and incarceration or custodial terms that the court could impose. This makes people realize the seriousness of the charges against them. We direct them to bring in a copy of the complaint, all their papers in connection with their case and any documents they received from their state's Division of Motor Vehicles. Oftentimes I will instruct them to write a narrative if it is a case that is fact- specific or involves a great deal of detail, such as an assault case. When the client is first in the office, I have him fill out the Confidential New Criminal Case Interview Sheet. We obtain background information such as their name, address, the offenses charged, date of the person's arrest, other witnesses, statements given to them by the police, their occupation and information regarding prior criminal convictions. Our interview sheet also asks if there is anything else important. The extent to which the client fills out the form lets us know whether or not the client will follow instructions and cooperate with us.

The following in the Juvenile Justice statute in New Jersey: 2A: 4A-20. Short title This act shall be known and may be cited as the "New Jersey Code of Juvenile Justice." 2A: 4A-21 Purposes.

  1. Purposes. This act shall be construed so as to effectuate the following purposes:

a. To preserve the unity of the family whenever possible and to provide for the care, protection, and wholesome mental and physical development of juveniles coming within the provisions of this act;

b. Consistent with the protection of the public interest, to remove from children committing delinquent acts certain statutory consequences of criminal behavior, and to substitute therefor an adequate program of supervision, care and rehabilitation, and a range of sanctions designed to promote accountability and protect the public;

c. To separate juveniles from the family environment only when necessary for their health, safety or welfare or in the interests of public safety;

d. To secure for each child coming under the jurisdiction of the court such care, guidance and control, preferably in his own home, as will conduce to the child's welfare and the best interests of the State; and when such child is removed from his own family, to secure for him custody, care and discipline as nearly as possible equivalent to that which should have been given by his parents;

e. To insure that children under the jurisdiction of the court are wards of the State, subject to the discipline and entitled to the protection of the State, which may intervene to safeguard them from neglect or injury and to enforce the legal obligations due to them and from them; and

f. Consistent with the protection of the public interest, to insure that any services and sanctions for juveniles provide balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for offenses committed, fostering interaction and dialogue between the offender, victim and community and the development of competencies to enable children to become responsible and productive members of the community.

2A: 4A-22. General definitions 3. General definitions. As used in this act:

a. "Juvenile" means an individual who is under the age of 18 years.

b. "Adult" means an individual 18 years of age or older.

c. "Detention" means the temporary care of juveniles in physically restricting facilities pending court disposition.

d. "Shelter care" means the temporary care of juveniles in facilities without physical restriction pending court disposition.

e. "Commit" means to transfer legal custody to an institution.

f. "Guardian" means a person, other than a parent, to whom legal custody of the child has been given by court order or who is acting in the place of the parent or is responsible for the care and welfare of the juvenile.

g. "Juvenile-family crisis" means behavior, conduct or a condition of a juvenile, parent or guardian or other family member which presents or results in (1) a serious threat to the well-being and physical safety of a juvenile, or (2) a serious conflict between a parent or guardian and a juvenile regarding rules of conduct which has been manifested by repeated disregard for lawful parental authority by a juvenile or misuse of lawful parental authority by a parent or guardian, or (3) unauthorized absence by a juvenile for more than 24 hours from his home, or (4) a pattern of repeated unauthorized absences from school by a juvenile subject to the compulsory education provision of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

h. "Repetitive disorderly persons offense" means the second or more disorderly persons offense committed by a juvenile on at least two separate occasions and at different times.

i. "Court" means the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part unless a different meaning is plainly required.

j. "Commission" means the Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L. 1995, c.284 (C. 52:17B-170).

2A: 4A-23 Definition of delinquency.

  1. Definition of delinquency. As used in this act, "delinquency" means the commission of an act by a juvenile which if committed by an adult would constitute:

a. A crime;

b. A disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense; or

c. A violation of any other penal statute, ordinance or regulation.

But, the commission of (1) an act which constitutes a violation of chapter 3, 4, 6 or 8 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes by a juvenile of any age; (2) an act relating to the ownership or operation of a motorized bicycle which constitutes a violation of chapter 3 or 4 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes by a juvenile of any age; (3) an act which constitutes a violation of article 3 or 6 of chapter 4 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes pertaining to pedestrians and bicycles, by a juvenile of any age; (4) the commission of an act which constitutes a violation of P.L. 1981, c.318 (C. 26:3D-1 et seq.), P.L. 1981, c.319 (C. 26:3D-7 et seq.), P.L. 1981, c.320 (C. 26:3D-15 et seq.), P.L. 1985, c.185 (C. 26:3E-7 et seq.), P.L. 1985, c.186 (C. 26:3D-32 et seq.), N.J.S. 2C:33-13, P.L. 1985, c.318 (C. 26:3D-38 et seq.), P.L. 1985, c.381 (C. 26:3D-46 et seq.), or of any amendment or supplement thereof, by a juvenile of any age;(5) an act which constitutes a violation of chapter 7 of Title 12 of the Revised Statutes relating to the regulation and registration of power vessels, by a juvenile of any age or section 2 of P.L. 1987, c.453 (C.12:7-61); or (6) an act which constitutes a violation of a municipal ordinance enacted pursuant to section 2 of P.L. 1992, c.132 (C.40:48-2.52) pertaining to curfew ordinances shall not constitute delinquency as defined in this act. The municipal court having jurisdiction over a case involving a violation by a juvenile of a section of Title 26 listed in this subsection, Title 40 listed in this subsection or N.J.S. 2C:33-13, shall forward a copy of the record of conviction in that case to the Family Part intake service of the county where the municipal court is located. If a municipal court orders detention or imposes a term of imprisonment on a juvenile in connection with a violation of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes, chapter 7 of Title 12 of the Revised Statutes, Title 40 of the Revised Statutes or N.J.S. 2C:33-13, that detention or term of imprisonment shall be served at a suitable juvenile institution and not at a county jail or county workhouse.

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