kid gets arrested

As every parent knows, children sometimes get themselves into trouble. In some cases, they may end up in very serious trouble that lands them in the criminal justice system. The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission reports that hundreds of minors are charged as delinquents each week. There are few things more stressful for a parent than learning that their child was arrested. If your child is facing charges, you need to know how to protect their rights and their future. Here, our New Jersey juvenile defense attorney highlights the most important things that you need to do in this situation. Four Things to Do After Your Child Gets Arrested in New Jersey 1. Find Out Exactly What Happened and What They are Facing Nothing should come before your child’s health, safety, and well-being. You need to be able to get as much information as you can about their case. There are laws in place that provide some protections to juvenile offenders. In New Jersey, the police should notify parents immediately about where their child is and what they are being charged with.  Among other things, minors receive quick initial hearings. Juveniles are often released to their parents after an arrest or detainment. However, there are some exceptions to that general rule. If you are having trouble getting information, your rights or your child’s rights may have been violated. An experienced defense attorney can help you get the answers that you need and deserve.  2. Call an Experienced Juvenile Justice Attorney If your child is facing a juvenile delinquency hearing, you should call a lawyer as soon as possible. Navigating New Jersey’s juvenile justice system is complex and confusing. A lawyer will explain the process to you and prepare you for the next steps and potential consequences. A New Jersey juvenile delinquency attorney will protect your child’s rights and interests, and protect them from suffering any long-term consequences related to the arrest. 3. Explore All Options for Rehabilitation There are many rehabilitative options for children in New Jersey’s juvenile justice system. A youthful indiscretion should not harm your child’s future. Law enforcement and prosecutors do not always make the process easy on children and their parents. In some cases, they may not give parents useful information about alternative options. A lawyer can help you make sure that your child is treated fairly and gets access to the services that they need. Many different options and programs are available in New Jersey. These include community service, paying restitution, counseling, or substance abuse programs. The goal is to protect your child’s rights and future and to get them back on the correct path.  4. Be Ready to Take Action to Get Records Sealed Parents should always make a plan to get their child’s records sealed. Start thinking about this as early on in the process as possible. You do not want a criminal record to impact your child’s ability to get into college or get a job. Under state law (N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1), most juvenile records are eligible for expungement. After enough time has passed and certain conditions have been met, your child will no longer have a criminal record. With proper planning, expungement of juvenile records can be done quickly. If you have questions about getting records sealed, a New Jersey expungement lawyer can help. Speak to Our New Jersey Juvenile Defense Lawyer Right Away At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, our New Jersey criminal defense attorney is a compassionate and committed advocate for juveniles. If your child was arrested or charged as a delinquent, our legal team is here to help. To set up a confidential legal consultation, contact us today.

Read More

Representing juveniles in court poses unique challenges to defense attorneys. For example, even the terms used in New Jersey Juvenile Court differ somewhat for those used in Adult criminal court. Some commonly used NJ juvenile delinquency terms are defined in NJSA 2A:4A-22. As used in New Jersey juvenile law: a. “Juvenile” means an individual who is under the age of 18 years. b. “Adult” means an individual 18 years of age or older. c. “Detention” means the temporary care of juveniles in physically restricting facilities pending court disposition. d. “Shelter care” means the temporary care of juveniles in facilities without physical restriction pending court disposition. e. “Commit” means to transfer legal custody to an institution. f. “Guardian” means a person, other than a parent, to whom legal custody of the child has been given by court order or who is acting in the place of the parent or is responsible for the care and welfare of the juvenile. g. “Juvenile-family crisis” means behavior, conduct or a condition of a juvenile, parent or guardian or other family member which presents or results in (1) a serious threat to the well-being and physical safety of a juvenile, or (2) a serious conflict between a parent or guardian and a juvenile regarding rules of conduct which has been manifested by repeated disregard for lawful parental authority by a juvenile or misuse of lawful parental authority by a parent or guardian, or (3) unauthorized absence by a juvenile for more than 24 hours from his home, or (4) a pattern of repeated unauthorized absences from school by a juvenile subject to the compulsory education provision of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes. h. “Repetitive disorderly persons offense” means the second or more disorderly persons offense committed by a juvenile on at least two separate occasions and at different times. i. “Court” means the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part unless a different meaning is plainly required. j. “Commission” means the Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c.284 Delinquent acts under former N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4-44 are generally limited to those violative of criminal or quasi-criminal enactments, and the general incorrigibility category of conduct is encompassed by former N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4-45 (now N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4A-22). State v. Bowen, 154 N.J. Super. 368, 381 A.2d 409, 1977 N.J. Super. LEXIS 1182 (App.Div. 1977). Excepts from some well-known juvenile cases: Juvenile involved in a juvenile-family crisis as defined under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4A-22(g) is distinguished from a delinquent in that a juvenile involved in a juvenile-family crisis is considered self-destructive, and the officer acts “in loco parentis” to protect the juvenile. State in Interest of J.G., 227 N.J. Super. 324, 547 A.2d 336, 1988 N.J. Super. LEXIS 329 (Ch.Div. 1988). Pursuant to former N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4-43 (now N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4A-22), which express the New Jersey juvenile court’s jurisdiction in terms of age limitations and proscribed actions rather that territorial limitations, the New Jersey juvenile court had jurisdiction over a juvenile who was housed on a federal military enclave and who committed delinquent acts on the federal enclave, where the act of the federal authorities in bringing a petition in a New Jersey juvenile court was the equivalent of a surrender of the juvenile to the jurisdiction of New Jersey pursuant to 18 U.S.C.S. § 5001. State in Interest of S., 137 N.J. Super. 371, 349 A.2d 105, 1975 N.J. Super. LEXIS 573 (App.Div. 1975). Placing a 21-year-old individual on probation with a condition he complete sex offender treatment as a result of actions involving a sexual assault against his younger sister he committed when he was a teenager was entirely within the juvenile court’s authority. However, the juvenile court erred by ordering the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) to effectuate that disposition and pay for such services as the limited situations that the DYFS’s services explicitly were extended to individuals who were between the ages of 18 and 21 did not include the 21 year old’s case since he nor his family had ever had any connection with the DYFS prior to the ordered disposition. State ex rel. J.S., 2010 N.J. LEXIS 547 (N.J. July 8 2010). Former N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4-43(d) (now N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4A-22(d) defines shelter care as the temporary care of juveniles in facilities without physical restriction pending court disposition of the juvenile proceedings. State in Interest of M.S., 73 N.J. 238, 374 A.2d 445, 1977 N.J. LEXIS 200 (1977). Under former N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4-43 (now N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4A-22), 18 is the age at which a person’s criminal or anti-social behavior ceases to be regarded as juvenile delinquency and is treated as a criminal or quasi-criminal act, subject to the processes and sanctions normally applicable to adults. Goss v. Allen, 70 N.J. 442, 360 A.2d 388, 1976 N.J. LEXIS 208 (1976). Placing a 21-year-old individual on probation with a condition he complete sex offender treatment as a result of actions involving a sexual assault against his younger sister he committed when he was a teenager was entirely within the juvenile court’s authority. However, the juvenile court erred by ordering the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) to effectuate that disposition and pay for such services as the limited situations that the DYFS’s services explicitly were extended to individuals who were between the ages of 18 and 21 did not include the 21 year old’s case since he nor his family had ever had any connection with the DYFS prior to the ordered disposition. State ex rel. J.S., 2010 N.J. LEXIS 547 (N.J. July 8 2010). Juvenile involved in a juvenile-family crisis as defined under N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:4A-22(g) is distinguished from a delinquent in that a juvenile involved in a juvenile-family crisis is considered self-destructive, and the officer acts “in loco parentis” to protect the juvenile. State in Interest of J.G., 227 N.J. Super. 324, 547 A.2d 336, 1988 N.J. Super....

Read More

Criminal mischief is a common offense charged against juvenile’s in New Jersey. The gravity of the charge and the penalty that a conviction may bring depend on the intent of the defendant and the amount of damage that was done. If your child is facing juvenile criminal mischief charges in New Jersey, call to speak with a juvenile delinquency lawyer. a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he: Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S. 2C:17-2; or Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings. b. Grading. Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $ 2,000.00 or more. Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $ 500.00 but less than $ 2000.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $ 500.00 or less. Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor damages, defaces, eradicates, alters, receives, releases or causes the loss of any research property used by the research facility, or otherwise causes physical disruption to the functioning of the research facility. The term ‘physical disruption” does not include any lawful activity that results from public, governmental, or research facility employee reaction to the disclosure of information about the research facility. Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor damages, removes or impairs the operation of any device, including, but not limited to, a sign, signal, light or other equipment, which serves to regulate or ensure the safety of air traffic at any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however, if the damage, removal or impediment of the device recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor interferes or tampers with any airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or any other aviation facility; however if the interference or tampering with the airport, landing field, landing strip, heliport, helistop or other aviation facility recklessly causes bodily injury or damage to property, the actor is guilty of a crime of the third degree, or if it recklessly causes a death, the actor is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor tampers with a grave, crypt, mausoleum or other site where human remains are stored or interred, with the purpose to desecrate, destroy or steal such human remains or any part thereof. Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes a substantial interruption or impairment of public communication, transportation, supply of water, oil, gas or power, or other public service. Criminal mischief is a crime of the second degree if the substantial interruption or impairment recklessly causes death. Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor purposely or knowingly breaks, digs up, obstructs or otherwise tampers with any pipes or mains for conducting gas, oil or water, or any works erected for supplying buildings with gas, oil or water, or any appurtenances or appendages therewith connected, or injures, cuts, breaks down, destroys or otherwise tampers with any electric light wires, poles or appurtenances, or any telephone, telecommunications, cable television or telegraph wires, lines, cable or appurtenances. c. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves an act of graffiti may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti and to perform community service, which shall include removing the graffiti from the property, if appropriate. If community service is ordered, it shall be for either not less than 20 days or not less than the number of days necessary to remove the graffiti from the property. d. As used in this section: “Act of graffiti” means the drawing, painting or making of any mark or inscription on public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner. “Spray paint” means any paint or pigmented substance that is in an aerosol or similar spray container. e. A person convicted of an offense of criminal mischief that involves the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings, may, in addition to any other penalty imposed by the court, be required to pay to the owner of the property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the damage or destruction.

Read More

Defense Attorney for New Jersey Juvenile Marijuana Possession Charges If your juvenile child was arrested for possession of CDS or marijuana/paraphernalia, speak with a defense lawyer today. All drug possession charges, even those involving juveniles, carry a mandatory 6 month – 2 year driver’s license suspension. While simple marijuana possession charges may seem minor, NJ law requires that all juveniles appearing in court be represented by an attorney. Give my office a call so we can explain the rest of the process to you. NJSA  2C:35-10. Possession, use or being under the influence, or failure to make lawful disposition a. It is unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog, unless the substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order form from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by… Any person who violates this section with respect to: A controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule I, II, III or IV other than those specifically covered in this section, is guilty of a crime of the third degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of … , a fine of up to $ 35,000.00 may be imposed; Any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, classified in Schedule V, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of …  a fine of up to $ 15,000.00 may be imposed; Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or more than five grams of hashish is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree, except that, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of … a fine of up to $ 25,000.00 may be imposed; or Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or five grams or less of hashish is a disorderly person. Any person who commits any offense defined in this section while on any property used for school purposes which is owned by or leased to any elementary or secondary school or school board, or within 1,000 feet of any such school property or a school bus, or while on any school bus, and who is not sentenced to a term of imprisonment, shall, in addition to any other sentence which the court may impose, be required to perform not less than 100 hours of community service. b. Any person who uses or who is under the influence of any controlled dangerous substance, or its analog, for a purpose other than the treatment of sickness or injury as lawfully prescribed or administered by a physician is a disorderly person. In a prosecution under this subsection, it shall not be necessary for the State to prove that the accused did use or was under the influence of any specific drug, but it shall be sufficient for a conviction under this subsection for the State to prove that the accused did use or was under the influence of some controlled dangerous substance, counterfeit controlled dangerous substance, or controlled substance analog, by proving that the accused did manifest physical and physiological symptoms or reactions caused by the use of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog. c. Any person who knowingly obtains or possesses a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog in violation of subsection a. of this section and who fails to voluntarily deliver the substance to the nearest law enforcement officer is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to preclude a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in this title or any other statute.

Read More

With the emergence of social media forums like Facebook and twitter along with the advance of cell phones and text messaging, individuals have far greater ability to harass each other. This, combined with new priorities and mandates aimed at eliminating bullying in schools along with the common phenomenon of kids terrorizing each other has lead to increased prosecution of harassment charges. Juveniles are commonly cited with this offense. In the past,these matters were often handled at the school or parental level. However, county prosecutor offices have recently been accepting these delinquency complaints and scheduling them for court. Defense Attorney for Juvenile Disorderly Persons Offenses You will usually be notified by police if they are investigating, charging, or want to question your child. If your juvenile child has been charged with harassment anywhere in New Jersey, give my office a call to speak with an experienced juvenile defense attorney. I have defended juveniles against harassment and many other more serious violations. Juvenile Court for Harassment Charges Criminal violations in New Jersey are graded based on the seriousness of the charge as detailed by New Jersey’s Code of Criminal Conduct, known as chapter “2C”. Harassment usually falls within the lowest level of such offenses, categorized as petty disorderly persons offenses. A petty disorderly persons offense if cited to an adult would be heard in the local municipal court in the town in which it occurred. However, all juvenile charges must be referred to the Superior Court as Municipal Courts do not have jurisdiction over these matters. This may seem like an unfortunate and inconvenient fact. However, it is actually for the juvenile’s protection. The Family Court setting in Superior Court is far better equipped to protect the juvenile’s privacy interest. Family Court judges also have greater training, education and experience dealing with the social and judicial issues that juvenile cases present. The only time a harassment charge rises to the felony level is where it is done while the juvenile is already on probation. New Jersey Harassment Law The first way a juvenile can be charged with harassment is by causing a “communication” to be made anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or by using  bad or hateful language, or in any other way that has a likelihood of creating annoyance or alarm. The word “communication” is used very broadly here. A communication be via telephone, email, text message, instant chat, in verbal, or writing. The best example of an anonymous communication is a prank phone call. Calling a home late at night, especially repeatedly, for no legitimate reason could give rise to charges under the “extremely inconvenient hours” clause. The statute also makes reference to “offensively course language” which is open to interpretation but judge usually “know it when the see it.” The second section of the harassment statute, NJSA 2C:33-4, prohibits hitting or touching another person in an offensive way or threatening to do the same. This statute closely overlaps New Jersey assault statute. This section is pretty straightforward and basically prohibits any unwanted physical contact. “Keep your hands to yourself” is good advice to a juvenile trying to avoid prosecution under this statute. The third and final way to be exposed to liability under New Jersey’s harassment law is by engaging in any pattern of troubling conducted or doing something repeatedly with the intent to harass. A good example of this would be sending an unreasonable number of text messages or placing too many unwanted phone calls or emails to another person, especially where it is clear that the other person does not wish to be contacted. If your child is facing New Jersey Harassment Charges in juvenile court, give my office a call so we can answer your questions about the and process.

Read More

Defense Attorney for NJ Juvenile Burglary Arrests If your child has been accused of breaking into cars or homes in New Jersey, call to speak with an experienced juvenile defense attorney. I have defended juveniles against burglary charges and much worse offenses. I defend juvenile clients in every New Jersey County Family Court. The first step in the defense process is to conduct a preliminary investigation by interviewing the child and in many cases also with the investigating officers or detectives. Next, we obtain the discovery (evidence) in your child’s case from the county prosecutor’s office and coordinate the court dates. Before charging the juvenile, police normally communicate with county officials to determine whether the juvenile will be released to their parents custody or placed in detention. If the decision is made to detain the child, a detention hearing must be held within days. It is important to obtain experienced legal counsel for the detention hearing to maximize your child’s chances of being released. The first court date after the detention hearing is usually termed a “counsel-mandatory plea hearing.” This hearing is similar to an arraignment in adult court. The only requirement at this hearing is that a plea be entered. However, it is common in many cases to resolve the charges and disposition at this hearing as well. The juvenile justice process is slower and more formal than municipal court, but slightly less so than adult Superior Court. Give my office a call if your son or daughter is under investigation or has been charged with burglary. It may be possible to have the charges dismissed or downgraded, or to minimize your child’s exposure. My main office is centrally located in Freehold, but we also have several offices by appointment only across New Jersey for your convenience. NJ Burglary Law There are several distinct ways a juvenile can be charged with a burglary in New Jersey. The first is if he or she enters into any “structure” that was not open to the pubic at the time of entry. Also, if the juvenile enters the location while the place is open to the public but then remains hidden inside while it closes, he or she is also liable under the Burglary statute. In some cases, what would normally be considered a mere trespass may be considered a burglary. This applies to situations including trespassing onto the property utility company (think climbing water towers and the like). The degrees of burglary vary but it is normally a third-degree crime. In other states, this would be considered a felony, although we do not use the term “felony” in New Jersey. An adult convicted of a third-degree burglary faces between 3-5 years in prison, while a juvenile faces a maximum of  two years of detention in most cases. A juvenile judge may also consider a wide-range of other penalties including probation and community service. However, burglary carries second-degree exposure if the juvenile hurts someone while committing the burglary, either purpose, knowingly or recklessly. It is also a second degree if the juvenile is in possession of a weapon at the time of the offense.

Read More

Defense Attorney for Juvenile Assault Charges Assault, even aggravated assault, is a relatively common charge that juveniles are taken into custody or arrested for in New Jersey. If your child has been questioned by police or arrested for an assault charge, speak with an experienced defense lawyer right away. I have defended juveniles against assault charges and worse throughout New Jersey. NJSA 2C:12-1. Assault a. Simple assault. A person is guilty of assault if he: Attempts to cause or purposely, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or Negligently causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or Attempts by physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense unless committed in a fight or scuffle entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a petty disorderly persons offense. b. Aggravated assault. A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he: Attempts to cause serious bodily injury to another, or causes such injury purposely or knowingly or under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such injury; or Attempts to cause or purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or Recklessly causes bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon; or Knowingly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life points a firearm, as defined in section … f., at or in the direction of another, whether or not the actor believes it to be loaded; or Commits a simple assault as defined in subsection a. (1), (2) or (3) of this section upon: (a) Any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority or because of his status as a law enforcement officer; or (b) Any paid or volunteer fireman acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of the duties of a fireman; or (c) Any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of emergency first-aid or medical services; or (d) Any school board member, school administrator, teacher, school bus driver or other employee of a public or nonpublic school or school board while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as a member or employee of a public or nonpublic school or school board or any school bus driver employed by an operator under contract to a public or nonpublic school or school board while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as a school bus driver; or (e) Any employee of the Division of Youth and Family Services while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as an employee of the division; or (f) Any justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of the Tax Court or municipal judge while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of judicial duties or because of his status as a member of the judiciary; or (g) Any operator of a motorbus or the operator’s supervisor or any employee of a rail passenger service while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties or because of his status as an operator of a motorbus or as the operator’s supervisor or as an employee of a rail passenger service; or (h) Any Department of Corrections employee, county corrections officer, juvenile corrections officer, State juvenile facility employee, juvenile detention staff member, juvenile detention officer, probation officer or any sheriff, undersheriff, or sheriff’s officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority; or (i) Any employee, including any person employed under contract, of a utility company as defined in section 2 of P.L.1971, c.224 or a cable television company subject to the provisions of the “Cable Television Act,” P.L.1972, c.186 et seq.) while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties in regard to connecting, disconnecting or repairing or attempting to connect, disconnect or repair any gas, electric or water utility, or cable television or telecommunication service; or (j) Any health care worker employed by a licensed health care facility to provide direct patient care, any health care professional licensed or otherwise authorized pursuant to Title 26 or Title 45 of the Revised Statutes to practice a health care profession, except a direct care worker at a State or county psychiatric hospital or State developmental center or veterans’ memorial home, while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the duties of providing direct patient care or practicing the health care profession; or (k) Any direct care worker at a State or county psychiatric hospital or State developmental center or veterans’ memorial home, while clearly identifiable as being engaged in the duties of providing direct patient care or practicing the health care profession, provided that the actor is not a patient or resident at the facility who is classified by the facility as having a mental illness or developmental disability; or Causes bodily injury to another person while fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer in violation of subsection b. of or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person shall be strictly liable for a violation of this subsection upon proof of a violation of subsection b. of or while operating a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of  which resulted in bodily injury to another person; or Attempts to cause significant bodily injury to another or causes significant bodily injury purposely or knowingly or, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life recklessly causes such significant bodily injury; or Causes bodily injury by knowingly or...

Read More

Defense Attorney for NJ Juvenile Charged with Committing Arson Juveniles are rarely charged with arson alone in New Jersey. Rather, arson charges are typically filed along with other complaints for crimes such as burglary and criminal mischief. In more serious cases, aggravated arson or a charge of “causing or risking widespread injury or damage” may be filed as well. If your juvenile child has been arrested for any arson related offense, give my office a call for help right away. I have defended juveniles against arson and similar charges in New Jersey. New Jersey Arson Laws The most serious arson charges result where any person, adult or juvenile, offers to pay or accept money or any benefit in exchange for starting a fire or explosion. This is a first-degree crime, which for an adult can carry 10-20 years in prison upon conviction. Juveniles can only be incarcerated for 4 years for a first-degree crime, unless a person dies as a result of the offense. An arson is also of the first-degree if it is committed against a place of worship including a church, synagogue, mosque or temple. Not only is such a charge a first-degree, but it also carries a minimum 15 year prison term which may not be suspended. The next most severe form of arson is second-degree aggravated arson. Aggravated arson is triggered when another person is put in danger of death or injury, where the purpose of the fire is to destroy a building, structure or forrest, or to commit a zoning or insurance fraud. A similar charge is for “causing or risking a widespread injury or damage,” also a second-degree offense in many cases. This charge imposes liability on an adult or juvenile who creates an explosion, flood, or similar act of recklessness. A juvenile can be detained for a maximum of 3 years if adjudicated delinquent for a second-degree offense and 2 years for a third-degree. Most other forms of arson are graded in the third-degree. These include a juvenile purposely setting a fire that puts anyone in danger of injury or property in danger of destruction. Most areas of criminal and civil law do not impose liability for inaction. However, fourth-degree arson is triggered when a fire that an adult or juvenile lawfully started, but then went out of control is not put out or reported by that person if they could have done so without substantial risk to themselves. This also applies to those under a duty to prevent or combat fires who fail to do so. A juvenile can be detained for a maximum of 1 year for a fourth-degree offense. Criminal arson charges can also give rise civil exposure as well. Obviously, any person who is injured or suffers a financial loss from an arson will want to be compensated. Criminal charges must always be handled with an eye toward a possible civil lawsuit. In cases where crimes committed by juveniles result in a lawsuit for monetary damages, parents or their homeowner’s insurance company may be held liable in certain situation.

Read More

As a New Jersey juvenile defense attorney, I speak with teenagers, children, and parents on a near-daily basis, all of whom are fearing for their future. A major reason for this fear comes from confusion about the legal process, which is filled with complex terminology. To help clear up some of this confusion, the New Jersey Courts have provided a comparative chart that shows many adult criminal terms alongside their juvenile equivalent. I want to discuss some of the terms here to better help you understand the juvenile system. Criminal term: Arrest Juvenile term: Taking juvenile into custody Criminal term: Conviction Juvenile term: Adjudication of delinquency Criminal term: Sentence Juvenile term: Disposition Criminal term: Indictment Juvenile term: No equivalent: a juvenile is charged with an offense without an indictment process. Criminal terms: Jail, prison, or incarceration Juvenile terms: Secure facility, youth house, detention center, or juvenile justice institutions Criminal term: Pretrial intervention program Juvenile term: Diversion—Juvenile Conference Committee or Intake Services Conference According to the courts, diversion is the process of removing minor juvenile cases from the full judicial process on the condition that the accused juvenile participates successfully in a rehabilitative process. This could be a juvenile conference committee or juvenile intake conference. If the diversion is met, the case is typically dismissed without an appearance before a judge. As you can see, the terminology surrounding juvenile defense further complicates an already difficult time. If your child has been charged with a crime in New Jersey, be sure to seek the help of an experienced New Jersey juvenile defense attorney to help guide you through these tough circumstances and fight for the best outcome for your child or teenager.

Read More

Juvenile crime and detention are on the rise across the USA. Reducing crime by teenagers or even younger youth is an important issue. Parents of minors accused of a criminal act should seek qualified legal representation immediately after an arrest. No parent wants to see their child caught in the criminal justice system, and for good reason. Parents with children who are caught in the New Jersey juvenile justice system have difficult decisions to make, and need the assistance of an effective juvenile criminal defense lawyer. When a child’s future hangs in the balance, the quality, experience, and dedication of the attorney managing the case can make a significant difference in the final outcome. Attorney Anthony J. Vecchio is recognized for his passion in protecting the rights of young people caught in the criminal justice system. He represents minors throughout the areas of Freehold, Mt. Laurel, Princeton, Jersey City, Red Bank, Woodbridge and the rest of the state of New Jersey. Juvenile Crime Statistics in New Jersey and Nationwide How does New Jersey fare on the issue of juvenile crime? Statistics for 2015 provided by the Juvenile Justice Commission show that Camden County has the highest rate of juvenile crimes in the state, followed by Union County, Essex County, Atlantic County, Middlesex County, and Passaic Counties. Areas of high population generally have higher rates of juvenile crime. In the juvenile justice system in New Jersey, there are currently 681 young offenders in the system, 71.91 percent of whom are African-American, 17.7 percent who are Hispanic, and 10.11 percent who are white. New Jersey is not alone when it comes to juvenile crime. A report from the NCJJ (National Center for Juvenile Justice) reveals that, juvenile crime has increased 20%  in the past five decades. Over that same period: Delinquency cases involving drug offenses almost doubled; Person offenses increased 72 percent; and Public order cases increased 64 percent. In one recent year, 1,236,200 cases of juvenile crime were reported, with 317,500 involving crimes against a person. The report also recorded 900 criminal homicides, 5,700 forcible rapes, 23,200 robberies, 31, 600 aggravated assaults, and 221,300 simple assaults, with 10,800 other violent sex offenses, and 23,000 other offenses against a person. Property crimes came in at 447,500 incidents in that one year. The Risks for Incarcerated Youth The troubles can continue for youths who are sent to detention centers. A report from the Anne E. Casey Foundation entitled “Maltreatment of Youths in U.S. Juvenile Corrections Facilities” revealed that one in 10 youths in state juvenile detention centers reported being victimized sexually. Maltreatment in New Jersey facilities has been documented since 2000. In one instance, young offenders were held in 23-hour-per-day seclusion. The Juvenile Law Center has described the state’s juvenile correction system as being riddled with “ongoing abuse practices.” Riots have broken out in these detention centers in recent years, posing a serious danger for an incarcerated child. A juvenile detention home in New Jersey is not where you want your child to go. At-risk children deserve to be helped – effectively. The Use of Curfews in New Jersey to Prevent Juvenile Crime Some cities in New Jersey have imposed a youth curfew to try to stem the tide of juvenile crimes in the area. Under curfew laws, violators can be taken into custody and must be released to a guardian, with fines imposed upon repeat offenders. These actions are an effort to reduce juvenile crimes including gang violence, but young people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time can face serious legal problems after an arrest. Detention Alternative Programs for Juvenile Offenders in New Jersey The state has options for at-risk youth that have proven to be effective in assisting young people to get their lives back on track. The Division of Youth and Family Services works with the Youth Advocate Programs called Detention Alternative Programs (DAI). Getting your son or daughter into one of these alterative programs is an option that must be explored immediately after an arrest for a criminal offense. The program focuses on providing a framework of strategies that are geared to help reduce the inappropriate use of secure juvenile detention, while maintaining public safety. Alternatives to secure detention allow a youth facing criminal accusations to be supervised within the community, rather than being held in a detention center. The state of New Jersey has been designated as a national model for the reform of the juvenile detention system. The lawyer representing your child can seek out alternatives to detention through this program. Mr. Vecchio defends minors caught in the justice system, and carefully manages all of the legal issues associated with juvenile detention, juvenile arrests, juvenile court appearances, and every facet of the child interaction with the juvenile justice system for the following crimes: Shoplifting Robbery Assault Delinquency Violent Crimes Governor Christie Signs Bill S2003 August 10th Directly Affecting Juvenile Offenders On August 10th, Governor Chris Christie signed bill S2003, that directly affects how juvenile offenders are tried, sentenced, and confined. It’s most important aspect is that the minimum age in which juveniles can be tried as adults will increase from age 14 to 15.  It will also only allow the most serious offenses to go to adult courts, and keep juveniles out of adult incarceration centers, changing the minimum age from 16 to 18. This bill has many other implications that we will continue to monitor and report on. How Can Juvenile Delinquency be Prevented? Many youths who are caught in the system begin a downward spiral as a result of learning disabilities. These children deserve to be helped. Programs to address these issues while the child is still young are critical to reducing the numbers of at-risk children. Local programs for at-risk youth such as the Second Chance program, providing mentors to help to steer these children down a better path. Early intervention is the most effective way to serve these children, and to assist them to avoid the pattern of delinquency, gang crime, or other types of offenses. New Jersey has many programs that offer group...

Read More