Passaic County NJ Juvenile Defense Attorneys

Juvenile Lawyers with Offices in Woodland Park, New Jersey

Passaic County NJ Juvenile Defense Attorneys
Juvenile Defense Lawyers

The New Jersey juvenile justice system varies greatly from the adult criminal system.  When a minor commits an offense, the focus is on rehabilitation and services that can assist them in making better choices while receiving community support and programs that lower the recidivism rate. Egregious, violent crimes have much stiffer penalties, even for juvenile offenders, but no matter the offense, it is vital to ensure their rights are protected.

Parents, if your teenager has been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey or New York, make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side. Depending upon the severity of the offense, determining whether your minor should be charged as a juvenile or an adult can mean the difference between turning your child over to your custody and facing time in prison.

The juvenile law attorneys of The Montanari Law Group, represent families facing juvenile court matters in Caldwell, Haledon, Totowa, Wayne, Clifton, and other Passaic County towns. We are a team of aggressive, experienced criminal law attorneys with a successful record of helping minors avoid a conviction on their record.

From offices in Little Falls, our lawyers advise and represent families whose minor-aged children face criminal procedures in juvenile courts throughout New Jersey and New York. Call us at  (973)-233-4396 or contact us by email to arrange an initial consultation with one of our experienced Passaic County juvenile crime defense lawyers right away.

Juvenile Defense Lawyers in Wayne NJ

We have succeeded in juvenile proceedings in New Jersey because we believe in our clients. We are not “plea bargain” lawyers who simply talk to the prosecutors or juvenile court authorities to try to get the best deal. We fight aggressively to help our clients prove their innocence.

Call us if your minor-aged child is facing any kind of hearing or juvenile court procedure for a criminal offense, such as:

All accused parties, whether adults or juveniles, are entitled to the same rights, such as the right to counsel, a fair trial, to remain silent, a jury trial, and to confront witnesses. However, they are not entitled to a public trial, as juvenile cases are closed to the public to protect the privacy of the minor.

Philosophy of the NJ Juvenile Justice System

The Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) continuously promotes policies and programs that improve the outcomes for at-risk youth in New Jersey. It offers a system that provides community-based prevention and intervention opportunities in an environment of diversity, justice, and community.  Secure care facilities, community residential housing, and parole/transitional services support youth to become independent, mature, law-abiding community members.  The pillars of integrity, commitment, leadership, diversity, inclusion, and compassion are the qualities JJC staff and youth are encouraged to exemplify, fostering a sense of optimism and possibility. The philosophy of Family Court is deeply dedicated to rehabilitation in its many forms.  Preservation of the family of the juvenile is important while insisting on accountability and citizenship.

How a Juvenile Criminal Case Starts

The juvenile judicial process starts when a minor is accused of committing an unlawful act in a written complaint signed by a police officer and sent to a Formal Court. Once there, intake workers will decide how the case should be managed. School administrators and probation officers can sign the complaint as witnesses, and police officers can sign it as a third party after interviewing the victim and any available witnesses.

About Juvenile Detention Hearings in New Jersey

During an Initial Detention Hearing, the judge analyzes the severity of the charges and decides whether the offender can be released into their parent’s or guardian’s custody or must stay in a juvenile facility for further evaluation. If the juvenile is determined to be a flight risk or a danger to the public, the judge will not release them. A hearing is promptly scheduled within 24 hours when a juvenile is detained. During this hearing, the judge carefully reviews the charges and assesses whether the juvenile’s parents can provide close supervision. If the judge determines that the juvenile poses a flight risk or a threat to the community, they may be sent to a detention facility.

According to New Jersey law, a hearing must be held every 21 days to reassess the juvenile’s case while they await trial. The system also considers alternatives to detention, such as group homes. It’s worth noting that detention is the least preferred method of keeping the juvenile under conditions that ensure court appearance and lower risk to others.

Different Ways to Resolve a Juvenile Case in New Jersey

The New Jersey Courts offer several ways to resolve a juvenile’s case. The first option is the JCC, where the juvenile, their parents, the victim, and a volunteer panel have an informal hearing during which the panel recommends solutions for the juvenile’s rehabilitation, such as community service and counseling. All parties, including the victim, must agree to the decisions made.  Once the juvenile completes the terms, the case is dismissed.  Another option is ISC (Intake Services Conference), which is similar to the JCC, but in lieu of volunteers, the process is held by court staff from start to finish rather than volunteers. A Juvenile Hearing Officer is another option.  This is a more formal setting where the officer decides the guilt or innocence of the juvenile based on the information presented and recommends possible consequences.  The decision is sent to a judge for ratification. A formal trial is another option.  Upon determination of guilt, the judge will give the sentence.

Grading System to Determine Consequences for Juvenile Delinquency in NJ

When a juvenile is found delinquent, they are sentenced according to a grading system.  A first-time offender of a fourth degree crime or less is not subjected to incarceration.  Petty disorderly persons crimes and disorderly persons crimes such as shoplifting, lewdness, disorderly conduct, drug paraphernalia, simple assault, and obstruction are examples of those crimes.  The consequences for these offenses include sobriety programs, community service, probation, and restitution.  Other more serious criminal offenses such as aggravated assault, weapons charges, and criminal sexual contact are charges that may lead to incarceration, even if it is the accused’s first offense.

Third degree crimes such as possession of heroin or cocaine, theft, and burglary carry a maximum sentence of 2 years for a juvenile.  Second degree crimes such as eluding, unlawful possession of a weapon, distribution of cocaine, and sexual assault have a maximum sentence of 3 years, while first degree offenses such as armed robbery, drug distribution, and carjacking carry a maximum sentence of 4 years.  Murder and felony murder are sentenced at 10 and 20 years, respectively.

New Jersey Process for Trying Minors as Adults

If a minor is at least 16 years of age, the prosecutor can file a motion to try the offender as an adult.  This is seen in cases where the alleged crimes committed were particularly violent or adult in nature.  First-degree robbery, carjacking, criminal homicide, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated arson, and maintaining and operating an illicit drug production facility are many of the offenses that may lead to a juvenile being tried as an adult.

A Guide to Sealing Juvenile Records in NJ

Facing Juvenile Charges in Passaic County NJ Help A juvenile offender can ask the Court to seal their record if two years have passed since the last court order in their case or since they were released from the state’s custody, either under supervision, probation, or state custody. The petitioner cannot commit any new crimes or disorderly offenses during that time, either.  A sealed record can be opened if there is further adjudication of a new crime.

Contrary to the expungement of adult crimes, juveniles are not limited to the number of offenses that can be expunged from their records. However, five years must pass from the final date of all supervision before a record can be expunged, during which the petitioner must remain conviction-free.  In cases of diversion, expungement is immediately available to avoid a conviction.

Speak With Our Clifton NJ Juvenile Law Attorneys Today

At The Montanari Law Group, your children are our priority and we will do anything we can to provide them with the best protection and representation possible.  Your concerns about their future employment and educational possibilities are valid ones. When handled properly, juvenile cases don’t have to affect your child’s future adversely. We can provide the emotional and legal support you need at this difficult time.  Our seasoned juvenile attorneys have helped many families just like yours with excellent results in Woodland Park, Little Falls, Paterson, New Milford, West Milford, Passaic City, and other Passaic County communities.

When your juvenile has a criminal case in New Jersey, contact the juvenile lawyers at our Little Falls office for a free consultation at (973) 233-4396 or toll free at 888-877-7985. You can also send us a message via our website and someone from our team will get in touch with you shortly. We accept credit cards for your convenience and have a Spanish interpreter available.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.