What Happens When a Juvenile is Accused of Domestic Violence in New Jersey?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jul 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

Domestic violence doesn't only occur between adults or when an adult abuses a child. Sometimes a minor may behave abusively toward a parent, stepparent, a sibling, or another person in the household.

Parents are often reluctant to involve the New Jersey legal system when a minor in their household is being abusive for fear of tainting the young person's future. However, sometimes it's essential to turn to the legal system to protect the victim, prevent further abuse, and help rehabilitate the juvenile abuser.

The Family Crisis Intervention Unit in New Jersey

If a juvenile engages in domestic violence, the family should contact the Family Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) in the county. The CIU is a unit of the Family Court Intake service whose objective is to provide 24-hour on-call service to help stabilize juvenile-family crises. The CIU must respond immediately to any crisis, whether by telephone or in-person.

If the CIU's interview with the family members resolves the crisis, no further intervention may be necessary. If the crisis remains unresolved, the CIU may remove the juvenile from the home and place them in a Juvenile Crisis Shelter, if necessary. Alternatively, the CIU may conduct a family assessment and implement a family service agreement to help manage an ongoing crisis. However, if even the family service agreement doesn't improve matters, the CUI may refer the case to Court Intake, with specific recommendations for resolving the problem.

Juvenile Delinquency in New Jersey

An adult may also choose to file a petition of delinquency against a youth accused of domestic violence. Pursuant to New Jersey Code 2A:4A-30, a person may only file the petition with their local Family Court if they have “knowledge of the facts alleged to constitute delinquency or is informed of such facts and believes that they are true.” In New Jersey, delinquency is “an act by a juvenile under the age of 18 that if committed by an adult would constitute a crime.” Domestic violence falls within this definition.

The New Jersey Family Court's goals are to both rehabilitate youth and hold them accountable for their actions. Juvenile petitions may be handled in one of three ways, depending on the circumstances of the case. First, the petition may be referred to a Juvenile Conference Committee or Intake Services Conference, where the matter will be discussed with the juvenile and family and resolved without an adjudication of delinquency. Instead, the youth will have to comply with specific conditions, such as counseling, evaluation, or other acts that may help rehabilitate the child.

A petition could also be referred to a juvenile referee. The referee will conduct an informal hearing where they will assess the facts, make a delinquency determination, and provide recommendations to the judge as to the disposition of the case. The dispositions will be carried out upon the judge's approval.

Finally, a juvenile may face a formal Court hearing. In a formal hearing, a judge will listen to the facts of the case and make an adjudication of delinquency. If the judge finds the youth delinquent, they will impose a disposition, which may include fines, community service, or confinement. A defense lawyer must represent a juvenile facing a formal hearing.

Juvenile Defense Lawyer in New Jersey

Whenever a child has been accused of domestic violence, it is essential to speak with an experienced juvenile defense lawyer. Your child's future depends on having their rights protected and receiving fair treatment. The Lento Law Firm offers a robust defense for those facing allegations of juvenile delinquency. Your child deserves legal representation that understands the juvenile system and has a track record of delivering results. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today for a case consultation at (888) 535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a veteran of one of the nation's busiest family courts with nearly 20 years' experience passionately helping families. By day, he worked in the trenches of family court, and at night, he studied the law. He helped countless families while working at family court, and he went on to become an attorney, dedicating his law practice to continuing the work he started years earlier. Mr. Lento's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's family law matter from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings! He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in New Jersey. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

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