Three teens from Middletown, New Jersey, faced "multiple charges" in April after being arrested for allegedly assaulting another teen. Holmdel police responding to a report, found the victim in the Beau Ridge development, unconscious and bleeding from a head wound. All three suspects have been arrested for the assault and taken into police custody.
Because the teens are under 18, they will be processed through New Jersey's juvenile court system. If you or your teen is facing a juvenile delinquency charge, here's a brief overview of what to expect.
The Delinquency Complaint
When a law enforcement official has probable cause to believe that a minor has committed an offense, they may take the juvenile into custody and file a delinquency complaint. This complaint contains a statement of the alleged facts relating to the crime.
Initial Detention Hearings
Following the arrest, New Jersey law demands that the Family Court holds a detention hearing for juveniles charged with delinquency within 24 hours. Whenever possible, the state prefers that the child is remanded to the care of their parents or legal guardian until the probable cause hearing. However, if the court deems the juvenile high risk, it will detain the child in a secure facility.
If the minor is detained, a probable cause hearing and a second detention hearing must be held within two court days. The judge may decide to continue to detain in a secure facility but also consider other means of detention, such as house arrest with electronic monitoring. The minor will be released if the court does not find probable cause. If the juvenile is not released, the court will schedule periodic review hearings. By law, these hearings must occur 14 and 21 court days after the initial hearing. The court will reconsider the minor's detention status and determine whether an alternate form of detention is possible.
Meanwhile, the delinquency complaint will be referred to Family Court. The intake staff will decide whether to dismiss the case, divert it, or schedule it for court action. The action taken depends on the seriousness of the allegations, whether this is the juvenile's first offense and other considerations.
If the case is dismissed, the juvenile will be released. If the case is diverted, the parents, child, and person who filed the complaint will discuss the offense and reach an agreement on the disposition of the matter. The resolution will be recorded and signed by all parties, including the parents, and sent to a family court judge for approval. Such resolutions may include rehabilitative actions such as enforcing a curfew, requiring community service, restitution, or taking other steps that hold the youth accountable.
Severe offenses will be referred to formal court. The minor must enter a plea admitting to or denying the charges. A family court judge will hear the case and make a ruling. If the court finds the child delinquent, they will impose a sentence that follows New Jersey law. The minor may appeal the decision within 45 days.
Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer is Critical
No matter the charge, your child must be represented by a knowledgeable lawyer at every stage of this process, starting from the arrest. A good lawyer will fight hard for your child's rights with an eye on preserving their future. New Jersey Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Criminal Defense Team have the experience and know-how to argue for or negotiate the best possible outcome and solutions for your child. Talk to them to learn more about the process, the charges, the potential consequences, and your child's rights and options. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or schedule an appointment online.