Fined Because Your Child Skips School?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jan 17, 2024 | 0 Comments

It may surprise you to learn that if your child repeatedly skips school in New Jersey, you can be prosecuted and fined as a consequence. But in cases where a student is chronically absent without excuse from school, that's exactly what can happen. If you find yourself in this situation, contact the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team. Our experienced attorneys can help you understand your situation, protect your rights, and help you resolve it as quickly and painlessly as possible. Call us today at 888.535.3686, or use our contact form to set up a consultation.

How Does New Jersey Define Truancy?

New Jersey law defines “truancy” as a situation where a child between the ages of 6 and 16 is “repeatedly” “absent from school” and where the child's parent or guardian “is unable to cause him to attend school.”

What Can Happen to a Truant Child?

For one thing, arrest. New Jersey law gives school attendance officers the power to arrest a “habitual truant,” though in most cases, it will be a police officer who will actually arrest the student. This shouldn't happen without warning, however; the law also requires attendance officers to notify the parent or guardian of a truant child “of the consequences of the violation” if the child continues to skip school.” In particular, the notification needs to be in writing, and should state that the parent or guardian must “cause the child to attend school within five days of the date on which the notice is served, and regularly thereafter.”

What Can Happen to the Parent of a Truant Child?

Parents or guardians may be prosecuted if they fail to comply with an attendance officer's notice directing them to make sure their child attends school when ordered to do so and on a regular basis after that. They can be charged with what New Jersey calls a “disorderly persons offense,” which is similar to a misdemeanor in other states. In addition, they can be fined $25 for a first offense and up to $100 “for each subsequent offense.”

How the Lento Law Firm Can Help

If you've received a notice ordering you to get your child back to school, we can help you make sure you comply with its requirements while also making it clear to the school that you are doing everything you can to get your child to attend school on a regular basis as required. And if you're charged with a disorderly persons offense because your child still won't attend school regularly, we will defend you and help protect your rights in court.

While the fines that can be imposed if your child regularly skips school without permission aren't great, they can add up. More importantly, it is enough of a challenge raising a child who refuses to attend school, despite your efforts to get them to go, without having to also face the aggravation and embarrassment that comes with being a defendant in a criminal court case, even if it is a minor one. The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help you understand what's going on with what may seem to you to be very unfair charges and will defend you and help you protect your rights and your good name. If your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, our attorneys have experience with those kinds of cases as well.

Whether you've received a notice from the attendance officer at your child's school about repeated absences or are being prosecuted because your child still won't attend school, call us at 888.535.3686 or use our contact form to set up a consultation. We know how frustrating this kind of situation can be, and we're here to listen and to help!

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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