Compassionate Criminal Defense Attorney Representing Juveniles Throughout New Jersey

new jersey juvenile defense lawyer

Unfortunately, young people, especially teenagers, can sometimes get themselves into serious trouble.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that there are nearly a million juvenile justice cases nationwide each year.

Parents and caregivers should know that there are some significant differences between juvenile criminal cases and adult criminal cases.

Anthony J. Vecchio is an experienced New Jersey juvenile criminal defense lawyer. Our legal team believes that a juvenile crime should not follow your child around for the rest of their life.

If your child is facing a juvenile delinquency action or criminal charge, you need professional representation.

To schedule a free, confidential initial consultation with a top-rated defense attorney, please contact us today.

We Handle the Full Range of Juvenile Offenses

Our New Jersey criminal defense lawyer has the skills and experience needed to handle all juvenile justice cases. No matter the nature of the charges, we will protect their rights and their future. Some of the most common juvenile offenses include:

  • Traffic violations;
  • Drunk driving (DWI) charges;
  • Underage drinking;
  • Disorderly conduct;
  • Vandalism;
  • Shoplifting;
  • Theft;
  • Trespassing;
  • Drug possession;
  • Drug distribution;
  • Fighting/assault charges;
  • Sex crimes; and
  • Computer-based offenses.

Can My Child Be Charged as an Adult?

One of the first questions that parents typically have for juvenile defense lawyers in New Jersey is: Will my child be charged as an adult?

The answer depends on several different factors. Their age at the time of the offense is always considered first. Under New Jersey state law, children who are 14 years old or younger will not be charged as an adult, regardless of the offense.

For children between the ages of 15 and 17, a New Jersey prosecutor may decide to seek a ‘waiver’ to get them tried in adult court if they are facing a serious offense.

If your child has been or may be charged as an adult, you need to call an experienced New Jersey defense lawyer immediately. You may be able to get the case moved back to the juvenile justice process.

Will My Child Be Detained?

Juveniles who are accused of a serious criminal offense may be detained. Under New Jersey law, juvenile offenders are entitled to receive an initial hearing quickly. Juveniles who are being detained should receive a hearing the following day.

In many cases, family courts release young people into the custody of their parents. If your child is being detained against your wishes, call a New Jersey juvenile justice attorney right away.

Will My Child Have to Go to Court?

As far as the court is concerned, juvenile offenders may be required to attend official legal proceedings. Unless your child is being charged as an adult, their juvenile delinquency hearing will likely go before a family law judge.

The matter may be heard by a Juvenile Conference Committee (JCC), an Intake Services Conference (ISC), or an informal Juvenile Referee. For parents, this process can be confusing. An experienced New Jersey juvenile delinquency attorney can help guide you on the path that is best for your child and your family. 

Understanding the Consequences of a Juvenile Offense

The consequences of juvenile delinquency vary based on many factors.  These include the nature of the offense, the age of the child, and the quality of legal representation.

New Jersey Courts favor rehabilitation over punishment for juvenile defendants. That being said, it would be a huge mistake to view a juvenile delinquency action or juvenile criminal charge as a minor issue — the consequences can be severe.

Among other things, punishment may include:

  • Community service;
  • Court-mandated fines or restitution;
  • Suspension of driving privileges;
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol treatment; and
  • Confinement in a detention center.

Can Juvenile Criminal Records Be Sealed in New Jersey?

Under New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1), many juvenile records will eventually be eligible for expungement. However, the process of getting records sealed can be confusing.

If you have questions or concerns about getting your child’s juvenile records sealed or your own juvenile records sealed, contact an experienced expungement lawyer in New Jersey for help.

Consequences of an Underage DUI in New Jersey

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.14 and N.J.S.A. 39:4-50

Since underage drivers represent a disproportionately high number of drunk drivers, the state of New Jersey makes every effort to deter this behavior. If a person is under the age of 21 and caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.01, the person may be charged with an underage DUI, also sometimes known as a baby DUI, statute NJSA 39:4-50.14 and NJSA 39:4-50. If convicted, the person will face:

  • 30-to-90 day driver’s license suspension (drivers under age 17 will have to wait even longer to get their license back)
  • Imprisonment for up to 30 days for a first offense (and up to one year in jail after a second conviction within 10 years)
  • 15-30 days of community service
  • Mandatory participation in an alcohol education program
  • Fines

For example, driving with an open container will automatically land you with a $200 fine. If previously convicted with an underage DUI, the penalties will be significantly higher.

Often, a DUI is not the only charge involved in cases of drinking and driving.

Underage drinkers may face other charges such as:

  • Distributing alcohol to a minor
  • Being a minor in possession of alcohol
  • Soliciting for alcohol

These convictions all remain on a teen’s record, which can make it difficult for teens to pass background checks for future jobs or educational opportunities.

Additionally, car insurance companies consider it highly risky to cover drivers convicted of an underage DUI. An insurer may either terminate a policy entirely or begin charging much higher monthly premiums to account for that risk. Those high premiums can remain in place for many years after the accident.

If your teen has been charged with underage drinking and driving, having the right New Jersey underage DUI attorney may have a lasting impact on their future. Anthony J. Vecchio is an experienced juvenile defense lawyer. Call him or use the chat box below to speak with the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio about how they can help.

Talk to Your Teens about Underage Drinking and Driving

One of the best ways to avoid the need for a New Jersey DUI lawyer is to talk to your teens about underage drinking and driving. If you discuss it even before they get their license, you can get a head start on helping them to develop safe habits.

It is important to frame this as a two-way discussion so that your teen driver gets all the information in a calm, low-pressure way. Consider talking about the following:

  • General safety for young drivers – This includes wearing a seatbelt at all times, limiting the number of passengers and putting the cell phone down while behind the wheel. These steps will help keep everyone in the car safe.
  • Peer pressure – Many teens know that drinking and driving is bad, but their peers may not realize it. At that age, peer pressure can be very strong. It can make teens act like they are OK to drive when that could not be further from the truth, or it could make them reluctant to take the keys away from a friend who has been drinking. Talk to your child about resisting peer pressure and doing his or her best to exert a positive influence on friends.
  • What your rules are – This is one area of your teen’s life where it pays to be very strict. You should make it clear with your teen that drinking and driving is never acceptable – under any circumstances. Leave no wiggle room. The New Jersey DUI laws don’t.
  • What your teen should do if he or she has been drinking – Let your teen know that underage drinking is never acceptable. However, allow your teen to call you for a ride home if he or she has been drinking or is with a driver who has consumed alcohol. Tell your teen that you will pick up him or her with no questions asked. Make sure the teen understands that safety is the main priority. You might even consider having a code word so your teen does not feel embarrassed in front of his or her friends.
  • Plan ahead – Some nights of the year, like prom and graduation, are notorious for having high rates of underage drinking and driving. Plan ahead. Coordinate with other families to organize rides home or, perhaps, book a shared limo. Do not leave anything to chance.

Why Trust Anthony Vecchio to Protect Your Child’s Future

Many people believe that juvenile delinquency and juvenile criminal charges are not a major issue.

This is false. A juvenile record could hinder your child’s future by limiting educational attainment or even increasing the likelihood of future incarceration.

Take action now to protect your loved one’s future.

New Jersey juvenile criminal defense lawyer Anthony Vecchio is a skilled and attentive advocate for clients.Mr. Vecchio will:

  • Review the charges your child is facing;
  • Answer all your questions and help you understand the juvenile justice system;
  • Explore and pursue every available option to keep your child out of the system; and
  • Put together a strong and effective legal defense.

Every case is different. If your child was arrested or charged with any type of juvenile offense, they need personalized legal representation.

Our New Jersey juvenile criminal defense attorney is committed to protecting the rights of young people. We have over 100 reviews and testimonials from satisfied clients.

Speak to a New Jersey Juvenile Defense Attorney Today

At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience representing juvenile defendants.

If your child was arrested or charged with a crime, you must take immediate action to protect their rights.

To set up a free, confidential initial consultation, please call us today.

With law office locations in Jersey City, Freehold, Woodbridge, Princeton, and Mt. Laurel, we handle juvenile justice matters throughout the state of New Jersey.