Attorney Scott Gorman Brings Unique and Extensive Experience to Defending Juveniles in Morristown, NJ
Facing charges in New Jersey’s juvenile justice system involves both similarities and differences compared to facing criminal charges as an adult in New Jersey state court. As a defense attorney who handles adult and juvenile cases and who previously worked as a counselor at a residential facility for at-risk youth in New Jersey, Scott Gorman offers a unique and in-depth perspective for protecting minors against unnecessary – and potentially life-changing – consequences.
If you or your child has been detailed for a juvenile offense in Morristown, it is important that you speak with a defense attorney promptly. Although juvenile matters are heard in family court rather than criminal court, an adjudication of delinquency can still have severe consequences, and there are actually downsides to facing juvenile charges in family court (though, in the vast majority of cases, it is still preferable to face juvenile, rather than criminal, charges). Attorney Scott Gorman can explain these issues to you or your child in plain, straightforward language, and he can take action immediately if it is necessary to do so in order to protect you or your child.
Experienced Defense Attorney for All Juvenile Charges in Morristown
Scott defends juveniles in New Jersey’s family courts in cases involving all types of delinquency allegations. If you or your child has been detained in Morristown for any of the following alleged offenses, we encourage you to contact us immediately to schedule a free initial consultation:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drug crimes (including possession of marijuana and other controlled substances)
- Sexual assault
- Underage alcohol possession or consumption
- Weapons offenses
In criminal cases, these offenses may be classified as either indictable offenses or disorderly persons offenses – roughly equivalent to felonies and misdemeanors in other states. While most adjudications of delinquency result in supervised probation, juveniles charged with these and other offenses in New Jersey can face residency programs, detention, financial restitution, community service, mandatory counseling and other sentences as well. In juvenile cases, sentencing is largely up to the family court judge’s discretion, so having an experienced attorney who knows how to address the issues that most often lead to substantial sentences is critical if it an adjudication of delinquency cannot be avoided entirely.
Q&A with Morristown Juvenile Defense Lawyer Scott Gorman
Q: How is a juvenile delinquency case different from a criminal case in New Jersey?
There are several differences between juvenile and adult criminal cases in New Jersey, and understanding these differences is critical to presenting a successful defense. For example, while juveniles are entitled to notice of the charges against them, they are not entitled to an indictment before they can be brought to trial. Additionally, at trial, juveniles do not have the right to have their case decided by a jury. Instead, the family court judge hears the evidence and issues a ruling based upon his or her application of the law to the facts at hand.
There are differences in the terminology used in juvenile and adult criminal cases as well. For example, a juvenile cannot technically be “arrested.” Instead he or she is “detained” pending trial. Similarly, while a criminal case can result in a “conviction,” in juvenile cases a finding of guilt results in an “adjudication of delinquency.”
Sentencing is also handled differently in juvenile and adult criminal cases. While New Jersey law establishes sentencing ranges for indictable offenses and disorderly persons offenses, family court judges have broad leeway to fashion sentences that they believe are appropriate to the circumstances at hand. While a juvenile sentence can include probation or detention (or both), it can also include alternative sentences that are designed (at least in theory) to help the juvenile learn from his or her mistakes.
Q: Can juveniles be tried as adults in New Jersey?
Yes, in appropriate cases. There are a variety of reasons why statute prosecutors may attempt to pursue criminal charges against a juvenile, recidivism being among the most common. If you or your child is at risk for criminal prosecution in New Jersey state court, fighting to prevent a transfer (or “waiver”) may be the first step toward mitigating the consequences of being detailed.
Q: What are juveniles’ rights during delinquency proceedings in family court?
In delinquency proceedings, juveniles enjoy most of the same rights as adults who are facing criminal charges in state court (although, as mentioned previously, this does not include the right to a jury trial). The rights afforded to juveniles include:
- The right to remain silent
- The right to confront their accusers
- The right to an attorney
Q: Does the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard apply in juvenile delinquency cases?
Yes, in juvenile delinquency cases, the burden is on the state to prove that the juvenile committed the alleged offense “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the same standard that applies in adult criminal cases, and it requires the family court judge to be certain that the juvenile committed the alleged offense. If the State cannot prove a juvenile’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then the only just outcome is for the juvenile to be released without a record.
Q: Is it possible to avoid an adjudication of delinquency even if a juvenile is guilty?
Never, never assume you are guilty. New Jersey’s juvenile and criminal laws are complicated, and the U.S. Constitution’s protections can provide complete defenses to culpability regardless of the facts underlying a juvenile charge. If you or your child has been detained, you need to speak with an attorney before making any assumptions about your case. Our firm provides free initial consultations, so contact us to discuss your case today.
Speak with Attorney Scott Gorman about Your Juvenile Case in Morristown
If you need a juvenile defense attorney in Morristown, contact The Gorman Law Firm to schedule a free and confidential consultation. To speak with attorney Scott Gorman as soon as possible, call 201-381-5560 or request an appointment online now.