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Former State Prosecutor and Criminal Trial Attorney

Former State Prosecutor

Former Atlantic County Prosecutor

Certified Criminal Trial Attorney

Experienced for over 35 years

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FAQs for Juvenile Crimes in New Jersey

Knowledgeable Criminal Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Questions about Juvenile Crimes in Atlantic City and across New Jersey

John W. Tumelty has been defending the rights of South Jersey juveniles for more than 35 years. He is an aggressive criminal defense attorney. He puts his extensive knowledge of New Jersey juvenile laws and experience working with the courts and prosecutors throughout New Jersey to work for each and every client.

The New Jersey Juvenile Justice System is quite different from NJ Superior Courts. It’s important to hire a defense lawyer to safeguard your child’s rights and interests if they are facing criminal charges in Atlantic, Cape May or Ocean counties. This is because if your child’s case gets moved into adult court, they will face a trial with very severe possible consequences. Penalties for adult crimes, of course, include real prison time with hardened criminals.
Mr. Tumelty knows that kids make mistakes. No one should be forced to pay for an incidence of lack of judgment as a teenager for the rest of their lives. He will protect your child throughout the process, ensuring they get treated fairly and receive help and the opportunity to get past these legal issues as soon as possible. Hire juvenile defense attorney, John Tumelty now.

Q. How does a juvenile crime differ from an adult crime?

Anyone under 18 who is charged with a crime including assault, some drug charges, shoplifting, some sexual assault offenses, vandalism, disorderly conduct, etc., can be charged as a juvenile and avoid harsh penalties associated with the same crimes an adult would face in the same situation. There are no jury trials in juvenile court and the police officers and judges have significant discretion when it comes to considering the circumstances of the situation. Often, focus is on rehabilitation, education and treatment rather than incarceration. Also, some charges apply only to juveniles, such as underage drinking, underage gambling or possession of a fake ID.

Q. How do the rights of juveniles differ from an adult’s legal rights?

With regard to Miranda warnings, all defendants, regardless of age, have the right to remain silent and to request an attorney be present.
Adults do not have to retain a lawyer, although it is, of course, extremely advisable for a number of reasons. Juveniles, on the other hand, must have legal counsel present during all formal legal proceedings. Additionally, under the NJ Juvenile Justice System, juvenile defendants do not have a right to a jury trial.

Also, juveniles may be questioned by police even if they do not fully understand their rights or waive them. While the police must still read Miranda warnings to a juvenile as soon as they are arrested, they can still question them if the child doesn’t request a lawyer. The issue at hand is “fairness;” was the child given a fair opportunity to understand what is going on. Parents should be present during questioning. However, if the child refuses to disclose parents’ names and contact info, the police may still continue with the interrogation. Additionally, if the child’s parents refuse to come to the police station or cannot be located, that doesn’t have to stop officers from continuing the questioning of the juvenile defendant.

Since the issue of “fairness” can be possibly contested, contact Mr. Tumelty is you feel your child was interrogating improperly by police after being taken into custody.

Q. Are juveniles subject to the same sentences as adults?

It’s possible, depending on the offense, for a juvenile to be sentenced to time in a juvenile detention center. However, juvenile court judges in New Jersey tend to lean toward alternative sentencing options that focus on rehabilitation and education. These may include probation, community services, making restitution or paying fines, enrolling in an anger management program or an educational program, being placed in a drug or alcohol rehab center or being committed to a psychiatric hospital.

Additionally, juvenile court judges have the discretion to remove a child from the home and even terminate parental rights under certain circumstances.

Q. Can a juvenile be tried as an adult?

If a child has committed a violent crime, such as murder, aggravated sexual assault or arson, he or she can be tried as an adult. Similarly, if they have a record of being found guilty of other juvenile delinquencies, your child could face a jury trial in Superior Court.

Before a juvenile case can be transferred to adult court, a judge must hold what is known as a waiver hearing. The judge will make a decision about whether the cause is just to move the case out of juvenile court. Mr. Tumelty will fight this every step of the way.

Q. Can juvenile records be expunged?

Juvenile records are sealed documents, unlike decisions made in adult court. After a juvenile reaches a certain age and meets conditions such as clean drug testing, an attorney can seek to have the juvenile record expunged.

Contact an Aggressive Juvenile Crimes Defense Attorney for Free Today

If your child is facing any serious criminal charges in South Jersey, it’s imperative that you contact John W. Tumelty as soon as possible to protect your child’s rights.

Mr. Tumelty will do everything in his considerable power to protect your child and make sure he or she is treated fairly by the juvenile court system. He will negotiate to make sure the case stays in juvenile court and doesn’t get moved to Superior Court where your child would be facing possible consequences that are extremely harsh.

Contact our offices in Atlantic City, Marmora or Somers Point today for a free consultation about your child’s charges. Mr. Tumelty will also speak with you via phone or come to your location, when necessary. Mr. Tumelty will do everything possible to help your family get through this.

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