Criminal Defense for Juveniles
Hackensack Juvenile Lawyers with Offices in Hackensack and Morristown
In New Jersey, juvenile delinquency proceedings differ from criminal cases in a number of important respects. Among them, juvenile proceedings take place in family court, and the goal of the juvenile justice process is to rehabilitate young offenders so that they can grow into contributing members of society.
But, while the juvenile justice system may focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment, facing juvenile charges is still a serious matter, and an “adjudication of delinquency” can have consequences far beyond the sentence imposed by the family court judge. As a result, minors who are facing juvenile charges in New Jersey must defend themselves effectively, and this starts with hiring an experienced juvenile defense attorney
How We Can Help with Your Child’s Juvenile Delinquency Case in New Jersey
1. Identifying All Available Defenses
In juvenile delinquency proceedings, minors can generally assert the same defenses that are available to adults in criminal court. These defenses include (but are not limited to):
- Lack of Evidence – In juvenile delinquency cases, the prosecution must prove the juvenile’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence does not prove that you (or your child) committed the alleged offense, then an adjudication of delinquency is inappropriate.
- Faulty Evidence – If prosecutors have evidence but that evidence is unreliable, then it should be kept out of your (or your child’s) juvenile case. Faulty DNA testing, unreliable breathalyzer devices, and various other issues can all provide grounds for arguing to exclude evidence from trial.
- Innocence – While it is not necessary to prove innocence, if you can do so, this can be the surest way to avoid an adjudication of delinquency.
- False Confession – In many cases, children who are taken into custody can be pressured into confessing to crimes that they did not commit.
- Racial, Ethnic or Age Profiling – Profiling continues to be a serious issue in New Jersey. Profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity or age is unlawful, and proving that you (or your child) has been profiled can provide a defense in court.
- Mistake – While ignorance of the law is usually not a viable defense, a mistake of fact (i.e. if you mistakenly believed you had someone’s consent to borrow their car) can provide a defense to juvenile culpability.
- Mistaken Identity (Alibi) – If the police identified you (or your child) when they should have identified someone else, establishing an alibi can be one way to avoid an adjudication of delinquency.
When you choose attorney Scott Gorman to represent you, he will work closely with you or your child to identify all defenses that are available. Armed with this information, Scott can then develop a comprehensive defense strategy focused on securing the best possible outcome in court.
2. Asserting Constitutional Protections
In addition to asserting the defenses listed above, asserting a violation of a juvenile’s constitutional rights can protect him or her against an adjudication of delinquency as well. This includes a violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Scott is intimately familiar with the case law surrounding these constitutional protections and has used them to protect many of his clients.
3. Avoiding “Waiver” to Adult Criminal Court
In juvenile delinquency cases, one of the biggest risks is the risk of the case being transferred (or “waived”) to criminal court. While waiver is not a concern in all cases, if prosecutors are seeking to try you (or your child) as an adult, fighting waiver will be a critical early step toward avoiding life-changing consequences.
4. Fighting to Avoid an Adjudication of Delinquency
In juvenile cases, minors are not “convicted,” but rather “adjudicated delinquent.” Attorney Scott Gorman has extensive experience representing clients in juvenile delinquency proceedings, and he has helped juveniles avoid adjudications of delinquency in family courts throughout New Jersey. If your (or your child’s) case goes to trial, Scott will rely on this experience to execute a defense strategy focused on avoiding an adjudication of delinquency.
5. Working to Structure an Appropriate Sentence
If it is not possible to avoid an adjudication of delinquency, then Scott will work with the judge to structure an appropriate sentence focused on rehabilitation. He will argue that detention would be unnecessary and counterproductive, and he will advocate for an alternative sentence that preserves your (or your child’s) freedom without limiting future education and career opportunities.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Our Hackensack Juvenile Lawyers
If you need a juvenile lawyer in Bergen County, we encourage you to contact us for a free and confidential consultation. To speak with attorney Scott Gorman as soon as possible, please call 201-489-9199 or tell us how to reach you online now.
Protecting Your Child’s Rights in a Criminal Case
Juveniles enjoy most of the constitutional rights as similarly situated adults. Among the notable differences between the rights of juveniles whose matters are processed in family court and similarly situated adults, juveniles cannot demand a trial by jury and they are not entitled to an indictment before their matters proceed to trial. Like adults, juveniles are entitled to notice of the charges against them. In addition, juveniles have the right to confront their accusers, the right to remain silent, and the right to be represented by an attorney.
If your child is charged is accused of having committed a criminal offense in Morristown, Hackensack or Bergen County, call juvenile defense attorney Scott Gorman right away. For many years, Scott has assisted juveniles to avoid adjudications of delinquency and the significant penalties that can result from them. Scott will get to know you and your family and understand your child’s needs. Next, he will develop a strategy to maximize the likelihood of a positive resolution. Scott will use his unique combination of compassion, skill, and diligence to effectively represent your child.
About New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyer Scott Gorman
Attorney Scott Gorman has more than a decade of experience defending juveniles in New Jersey’s family courts, and his background makes him uniquely qualified to represent minors in juvenile delinquency matters. Before becoming an attorney, Scott served as a case manager at a non-profit organization where he worked with the families of socially and emotionally-troubled children and school personnel, therapists, mental health professionals and other service providers. He also previously worked as a counselor at a residential facility for at-risk youth in Mount Holly, New Jersey, where he advised young people with emotional and behavioral problems that resulted in their involvement in the juvenile justice system. As a result of this experience, Scott understands the unique challenges facing at-risk youth, and he is able to strategically and effectively advocate for outcomes that preserve his young clients’ futures.
In addition to representing juveniles, Scott also represents adults facing criminal charges, and this experience enhances his ability to effectively represent minors in juvenile proceedings as well. During his career, Scott has successfully represented juveniles and adults charged with offenses including:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drug crimes (including possession of marijuana and other controlled substances)
- Sexual assault
- Underage alcohol possession or consumption
- Weapons offenses