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Passaic County Juvenile Defense Lawyers
Parents whose children have been arrested often feel overwhelmed from the moment of that first call from a law enforcement agency. For many families, this is their first brush with the law. We sympathize with how these parents struggle to understand what comes next.
If your child has been arrested in a Passaic County municipality such as Paterson, Clifton, Little Falls, Passaic, Woodland Park, Midland Park, Bloomingdale, Haledon, Totowa, or Hawthorne, you can trust the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall to assist you with compassion and our extensive legal experience.
Our criminal defense team consists of former public defenders and prosecutors from across New Jersey. We’ve spent decades protecting the rights of youths so that a criminal offense doesn’t have to jeopardize their freedom and their future.
We’ll gladly move at any time of day, even on weekends and holidays, to secure your child’s release and discuss with you how to proceed. We focus on pursuing the best possible outcome for our juvenile clients and are dedicated to acting in their best interests, whether that means negotiating for reduced or dismissed charges or advocating for a lesser sentence or lighter penalty.
Please contact us at our Wayne office today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Learn what the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can do for your family.
What Happens in a Passaic County Juvenile Offense Case?
Although many parents understandably panic when they find out that their child has been arrested, please be assured that the State of New Jersey would rather help a child than punish them.
Some criminal cases involving serious charges, such as armed robbery, may be heard in the Passaic County Superior Court, should a prosecutor request a youth be tried as an adult. Barring that, however, offenses involving juveniles — youths younger than 18 years old — often begin in Family Court, which focuses on rehabilitation.
Family Court’s philosophy centers on the care, development, and protection of the juveniles appearing there. It seeks to hold juveniles accountable for their behavior with the goal of guiding them into being productive, responsible citizens.
All juveniles facing charges in Family Court must be represented by a lawyer. There is no leeway for a parent or guardian to proceed without a defense attorney. Children whose parents or guardians are unable to hire an attorney to represent their child because of demonstrable indigence receive a public defender. At the Law Offices of John F. Marshall, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation where we can address your questions and concerns before you decide whether you’d prefer that we speak for your child.
Generally speaking, after a juvenile arrest, a judge decides whether the youth is equipped to return home, to school, and to the community, or if detention in a juvenile facility would be better, should the child pose a danger to themselves or others.
The court considers factors such as:
- The seriousness of the alleged crime
- The child’s prior criminal history
- The child’s medical or psychological issues, if any
- Information from police, parents, and other relevant parties regarding the child’s problems
- Any other relevant information about the child’s safety to themselves or others
We Will Fight for Your Child’s Best Interests
The Passaic County juvenile defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall draw on more than 100 years of combined experience when representing all our clients, especially the younger ones. We have represented children and teenagers accused of various offenses, such as:
- Thefts, such as shoplifting, auto theft, burglary, robbery, and vandalism
- Disorderly conduct
- Traffic offenses
- DWI/DUI and underage drinking
- Internet crimes
- Drug possession
- Drug distribution
- Sex crimes, such as rape, sexual assault, and lewdness
- Violent crimes, including aggravated assault, threats, stalking, and harassment
We launch our own independent investigation of all charges. It is not unusual after a juvenile arrest to have charges reduced or dropped. For instance, facts often are unclear in drug- and alcohol-related cases involving parties or other large gatherings. With cases involving interpersonal disputes, such as simple assault or theft, we may be able to negotiate a resolution among all parties for making amends and restitution.
If we cannot successfully have any charges against your child dismissed, we will advocate on their behalf in court. Juvenile cases are heard in the county where the offense allegedly occurred. If the youth lives outside of that county, then the court system arranges for the case to be heard in the child’s county of residence.
Children and teenagers with less serious offenses and those with no prior juvenile offense history generally appear at a Juvenile Conference Committee, an informal proceeding where a municipal court judge rules on the case. The judge may order the child to pay a fine, perform community service or other restitution, or undergo drug, alcohol, or psychological counseling.
In cases involving more serious offenses or a child with a prior juvenile offense history, a Passaic County Family Court judge presides over a trial, complete with a prosecutor and a defense attorney who can cross-examine each side’s witnesses. There is no jury at these proceedings, which are heard in a closed court. This means that only people involved in the case (including parents or guardians) can attend. All records associated with these proceedings — including police reports and all social, medical, and other legal records — remain confidential.
Depending on the case and various factors in the child’s life, a juvenile who pleads guilty or is found guilty can face several outcomes, including:
- Paying fines and restitution
- Performing community service
- Undergoing drug and alcohol or psychological treatment
- Surrendering a driver’s license for a period of suspension
- A commitment to a juvenile detention facility
New Jersey’s Juvenile Supervision program gives underage offenders in Passaic County the opportunity to remain in their community under a probation officer’s supervision. The officer monitors their compliance with judge’s rules and conditions, which in addition to paying restitution and fines may include academic goals and counseling.
State law also allows the court to modify a juvenile’s sentence at any time, including in response to motions and applications a child’s attorney files for post-disposition relief on their behalf.
Meet with a Passaic County Juvenile Crime Defense Attorney Today
At the Law Offices of John F. Marshall, our legal team isn’t just knowledgeable about the law. We’re parents ourselves. Our caring and attentive Passaic County juvenile defense attorneys have a number of options we can pursue to keep a criminal conviction off your child’s record or resolve a case to the best possible outcome.
Contact us today online or call us for a free initial consultation. You’re also welcome to visit our Wayne office at 73 Mountainview Blvd. We’re here to help you in Passaic County.