Our Essex County Juvenile Attorney Understands Your Fears
Having a child or other young loved one charged with a juvenile offense can cause you tremendous anxiety. Though the law tries to protect children, in some instances, juvenile charges can result in serious consequences. Essex County juvenile attorney, Scott Gorman, understands what’s at stake and is here to give juveniles their best defense options.
Breaking Down Some of the Most Important Issues in Juvenile Arrests
Our Essex County Juvenile Attorney Explains a Teen’s Right to Remain Silent
By law, a parent does not have to be present for the police to interrogate or question a juvenile suspect. Any statements made by a juvenile during this unsupervised interrogation can be used later, which is something parents and their children might not be aware of at the time. Basically, any conversation between a minor who is suspected of criminal activity or involvement and an officer or court official can be considered part of that minor’s testimony and can be used in the ensuing investigation.
In a typical court case, an adult offender is advised of his or her right to retain a lawyer before an officer starts asking questions. As soon as the accused exercises that right and asks for a lawyer, the officer is required to stop asking questions until the attorney arrives. If the accused waives his or her right to counsel, he or she should fully understand that right and the decision to forfeit it.
For a juvenile case, full understanding is a little trickier. Depending on the age of the defendant and his or her familiarity with criminal law (which is likely very minimal), a full understanding of the Miranda rights, and what it means to waive those rights, is not always the case. However, as long as an investigation follows the laws fairly, a child defendant can waive the right to an attorney, or to have his or her parents present, and speak to law enforcement—even if the child doesn’t fully understand how that decision will impact the case.
It’s critical for your child’s case that you get an Essex County juvenile attorney involved as soon as charges are filed or your child is brought in for questioning in a criminal investigation if not sooner. Any statement that your child makes made can be used against him or her later on in court, and the process of fighting back against an incriminating confession or implication is not an easy one.
Underage Drinking Crimes
Just about everyone knows the legal drinking age in New Jersey is 21, and everyone under that age may be subject to fines, penalties or even jail time if they are caught drinking. However, it is fairly well-known that many young adults try alcohol for the first time as teenagers, in high school or in their freshman or sophomore years at college before they have turned 21. It’s difficult, but not impossible, for underage drinkers to get their hands on beer and liquor, and it often requires the help of someone who is of legal age.
An underage drinker who gets caught by police could be subject to many types of repercussions, most of which will have a lasting impact on his or her future. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15, underage possession of alcohol is a “disorderly persons” offense and a conviction can lead to a term of probation or sometimes jail. These charges pertain to anyone caught with alcohol under the age of 21, even if the person is not drunk or has not even had a drink. Simply being in possession of a bottle of beer can be enough to land a person in court.
According to the law, any person under 21 who consumes or purchases an alcoholic beverage will be fined at least $500. If a court finds that an underage person possessed alcohol while in any motor vehicle, the court must impose a six-month loss of driving privileges regardless of whether the person was not under the influence of alcohol. In some cases, if the offense is serious enough and the person is at a high level of intoxication when he or she is arrested, the court may order rehabilitation either in custody or as an alternative to time in a juvenile detention center. Our Essex County juvenile lawyer will evaluate the circumstances of your child’s arrest and will break down what to expect.
Teen Assault Cases
Navigating an aggravated assault case can be extremely complicated, especially when the perpetrator is a teenager. There are many factors that determine how serious an aggravated assault charge is and what the consequences may be. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense, which is essentially a misdemeanor, but aggravated assault can be much more severe. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:121(b) of New Jersey’s criminal code, aggravated assault can be a second, third or fourth degree felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack.
Two main factors determine the degree of an assault charge. The first is the type of injury that was caused (or attempted), and the type of weapon that was used in the assault. Aggravated assaults can include any of the following:
• Threatening to strike or striking a person with a dangerous object or weapon
• Threatening to shoot or shooting a gun at someone
• Threatening to kill someone with a gun pointed at him or her
• Attack that results in serious physical injuries
• Attack against a member of a law enforcement officer, healthcare worker, or other protected field, or against a disabled person or older person
• Attack with a concealed identity
For an adult, any of these crimes can lead to serious convictions and lengthy periods of imprisonment. An aggravated assault committed by a teen carries the same weight because second-, third- and fourth-degree crimes may result in the minor perpetrator being charged as an adult. This is problematic for younger defendants because any incident of violence, even among friends or high school rivals, could lead to criminal charges.
No Early Release
Second-degree aggravated assault falls under the No Early Release Act which states that a defendant must serve at least 85 percent of his or her sentence before the individual can be considered for parole. For a young teen charged with aggravated assault and facing ten years in prison, 85 percent of that sentence is an amount of time that could deeply impact the rest of his or her life. Essex County juvenile lawyer, Scott Gorman, represents teenagers who have been charged with serious crimes, whether they are prosecuted as adults or as juveniles.
Contact an Essex County Juvenile Attorney at The Gorman Law Firm Today
At The Gorman Law Firm, our initial consultation is free. We want to provide juvenile with their best options, so we encourage you to contact our office right away. The sooner we understand the case, the sooner we can help protect your child’s future.