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Freehold Juvenile Lawyer

06
Jul
2011

by in Juvenile Law

Freehold Police write up a substantial number of juvenile delinquency complaints. Both Freehold Borough and Freehold Township. Police investigate juvenile crime in their jurisdictions and have the authority to take a juvenile into custody. If your child has a juvenile charge in Freehold, call to speak with a Monmouth County Juvenile Lawyer.

The most common juvenile arrests in Freehold are made for drug possession, burglary, and assault. The most common Freehold drug arrests are for marijuana. However, juveniles in Freehold are also frequently caught with prescription pills, ecstasy and even heroin. Freehold police can take your child into custody for any of these offenses. After processing, you must be notified. The police will likely release your child to you unless he or she poses a risk of danger to his or herself of others. In some cases, juvenile in New Jersey can be detained at a juvenile detention facility. The Monmouth County Youth Detention Center recently closed.

Any child in who is charged with a criminal offense in Freehold Township or Freehold Borough will be sent to the Monmouth County Superior Court. There are a few exceptions to this rule. First, if a juvenile commits a crime in Freehold, but lives outside of Monmouth County, their case will be heard in the superior court of their home county. Also, some cases are diverted from the family court to other hearings.

These include Juvenile Conference Committees and “Referee” hearings. Juvenile Conference Committee (“JCC”) hearings include the juvenile appearing before a panel of volunteers from the community. These individuals earn no money and generally mean well. However, the qualifications of some of them vary widely. At a “Referee” hearing, your child will appear before a magistrate at the Superior Court.

In Monmouth County, Referee hearings are held in the basement of the Monmouth County Superior Court. The court is located at 71 Monument Park in downtown Freehold Borough. The judge is the Honorable John G. Colannino. Judge Colannino is the municipal court judge in Matawan Borough and also the presiding judge of the Monmouth County Municipal Courts. At the hearing, the judge will listen to the witnesses, who may include the juvenile, police officers and any victims.

The rules of evidence are severely relaxed in referee hearings. An attorney may appear at these hearings on behalf of the juvenile. The attorney will be allowed (generally) the opportunity to speak on behalf of the juvenile but is not always allowed to cross-examine witnesses. After hearing what the witnesses have to say, the referee decides on what punishment the juvenile will receive. Guilt and innocence is not generally at the heart of this hearing.  It is really more of a “totality of the circumstances” approach.

The referee process has its pros and cons. The program is effective at weeding out easy cases and providing a reasonably fair resolution to these cases. However, your child does not have the same rights as in a more formal hearing before a Family Part judge. If your child is 15 or over, they may opt out of the referee hearing and insist that a formal hearing be held. This decision is an important one. You should consult with a New Jersey juvenile lawyer before making it.

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