What to Do If Your Child Is Arrested for Shoplifting in New Jersey
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Having a child, relative or close family friend arrested for shoplifting can be an overwhelming experience. The New Jersey juvenile justice system is a complex process and differs in many ways from the adult criminal justice system. It is important to consult with a New Jersey juvenile defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your child and achieve the best possible outcome.
In New Jersey, a juvenile enters the juvenile justice system when a complaint charging the youth with an act of delinquency is signed by a law enforcement officer. The officer may take a juvenile into custody when there is probable cause to believe that the juvenile is delinquent.
Juveniles have the right to remain silent in New Jersey just like adults. Therefore, it is always important to consult with a juvenile defense attorney before allowing your child to give any statement to police following a shoplifting accusation. Statements provided to the police may be used against your son or daughter before the court adjudicating the shoplifting matter.
In New Jersey, shoplifting is defined as:
A juvenile who commits any of the above shoplifting acts may be taken into custody by the police. However, an officer may also divert the case through several means, including releasing the juvenile to a responsible parent or guardian (with or without a reprimand and warning) or conduct a station house adjustment. Once a delinquency complaint is signed, a juvenile can be held in a secure detention facility if certain statutory criteria are met. The officer refers the case to court intake service to request admission into detention.
If your child is 14 years or older and charged with a shoplifting offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult, the agency charging your child will take all reasonable steps to fingerprint your child. It is also very likely that your child will be photographed for criminal identification purposes and a copy of his or her picture will be sent to the county prosecutor.
Hearings for juveniles are typically held in Family Court. The hearings are held in the following order and within the noted time periods: an initial detention hearing is to be held within 24 hours of admission; for juveniles remanded to detention, the initial probable cause hearing and second detention hearing are to be held within two court days; the juvenile is released from detention pending a subsequent hearing if probable cause is not found.
Detained juvenile review hearings are held at fourteen (14) and twenty one (21) day intervals where the juvenile’s detention status is reconsidered by a judge.
At the adjudicatory hearing, the court makes a determination on the delinquency charge(s). After an adjudication of delinquency, the judge will order a disposition. In detained cases, the disposition hearing is to occur within 60 court days of admission to detention unless extended by the court for good cause.
If a juvenile is found delinquent due to shoplifting, Judges are allowed a wide array of sentencing options. Probation supervision is a common outcome, and probation is often ordered along with other requirements such as performing community service or paying financial restitution. In addition, probation is ordered along with more restrictive requirements such as entering a residential program or undergoing counseling. If your child is charged with a serious offense or has a history of juvenile delinquency, the Judge may also sentence your child to a period of incarceration in a state run juvenile detention facility.
If your son or daughter is arrested for shoplifting in New Jersey, always consult with a juvenile defense lawyer. The juvenile defense attorneys at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC may be able to assist you. The firm’s criminal attorneys specialize in juvenile defense, including those charged as a result of shoplifting. Attorneys Casey Woodruff, Gary Grabas, and Robert Rowbotham are all former prosecutors, whose experience as prosecutors has given them special insight into the prosecution of juvenile shoplifting offenses. Jon Bramnick is a Certified Civil Trial Lawyer with over 30 years of trial experience.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation to discuss a juvenile shoplifting offense with one of our juvenile criminal defense lawyers, please contact us at: (908) 322-7000. We are available 24 hours a day.