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Articles Posted in Juvenile

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If you have been charged with the crime of Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana, you have been charged with a crime that many other individuals have been charged with throughout Monmouth County. Often times people are arrested for Possession of Marijuana in a driving a motor vehicle after getting pulled over by the police. Or sometimes, the marijuana is found on an individual incident to another arrest.

This offense is considered a disorderly persons offense. If found guilty of the charge, it will go on your record, and it cannot be expunged for 5 years following the date of conviction, date of completion of probation or date all fines are paid off, whichever date is the latest in time. Also, you can face up to 6 months incarceration, loss of a driving license and additional fines and penalties. If you have been charged with this offense, an experience attorney might be able to negotiate ae conditional discharge for you or a possible dismissal.

If you are an adult on the date of arrest then the matter will be heard in the municipal court of the town where you were arrested. If you are a juvenile then your matter will be heard in the the family division of the Superior Court. Ms. Breslow is extremely familiar with juvenile matters and knows how to get the best possible results in the juvenile courts.

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I have represented numerous juveniles who have been arrested in throughout Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties. It is essential that the attorney representing the juvenile is familiar with how the juvenile system work as well as how to handle the legal issues that arise in criminal matters.

These matters are heard in the Superior Courts within the Family Division. Many juveniles and often times their parents are surprised that the matter is going to be heard in a Superior Court instead of a Municipal Court. The matter is assigned to a family court Judge who deals with juvenile matters and is thus familiar with juvenile matters. If this is the juvenile’s first offense, and the matter is minor in nature, often times he or she might be eligible for a deferred disposition, meaning that the sentence will be withheld for a specific time period and if the juvenile remains arrest free and complies with the imposed conditions then the matter will be dismissed. I have been in many situations where the Judge and/or Prosecutor is not inclined to give the Juvenile a deferred disposition for a variety of reasons. For example, they feel that the matter is too serious in nature, or they feel that that deferred dispositions are only appropriate for the most minor offenses since they do not believe probation should be dealing with these juveniles. Basically, there is inconsistently throughout the State of how juvenile matters are handled. Many times I have fought Judges on this issue and I have had great success.

It is important to have an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer fighting on your side throughout this process.

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It is very common question to ask what privacy rights do juveniles have while they are at school? Can their lockers and backpacks be searched? Many juveniles arrested for Drug Possession or Distribution of CDS within 1000 feet of a school, are arrested only after a school official has searched their locker or backpack and found marijuana, cocaine or heroin. Often times a juvenile was pressured by another student to store the drugs, and he or she is left possessing the contraband. Often times, juveniles will think that since they were not selling the drugs or they were holding drugs for another student that they are not guilty. If you or your child has been arrested for any criminal charge it is important that you speak with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

It is imperative that a lawyer review the police reports in order to determine whether the police and/or school officials acted legally. The juvenile will be appearing in the family division of the Superior Court regardless of the offense, since juvenile offenders are brought before the Superior Court. Even if the juvenile is charged with Possession of Marijuana less than 50 grams (which is a disorderly persons offense) the matter will be brought before a Superior Court Judge. It is possible that the juvenile can be eligible for an Adjourned Disposition, which will mean that the juvenile will not have record.
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In the State of New Jersey, criminal offenses are divided into 2 general categories- Indictable offenses and disorderly persons. Indictable offenses are graded starting at 1st degree (the most serious), second degree, third degree and fourth degree. Disorderly persons offenses are non-felony offenses, and there is a also petty disorderly persons which is less serious than a disorderly persons. Disorderly persons, as well as fourth degree felony offenses, are heard in the Municipal Courts, while the indictable offenses are heard in Superior Court. The following offenses are disorderly persons offenses, shoplifting, harassment, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The maximum fine for a DP or disorderly persons is $1,000. And the maximum jail sentence for a disorderly offenses is 6 months, and possibility of up to six month loss of license. There are ways an attorney can argue for no loss of license. If this is your first time convicted of a disorderly persons offense there is a presumption of non-incarceration. In addition, you may be eligible for a conditional discharge, which is a diversionary program designed to avoid an individual having a criminal record.

Also, a disorderly offense can be expunged within five years of date of conviction, or from last payment of any fines owed, whichever is latter. Even if your matter was resolved with a conditional discharge it is recommended that you get the matter expunged so that it will be completely erased from your record.

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A juvenile who has been charged and convicted of possession of marijuana, cocaine or heroin, has the opportunity to file a Petition for an Expungement sooner than if he or she was an adult. If the juvenile was put on probation or pled to a drug offense then this will remain on their record, until an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney files a petition for expungement. There is a juvenile exception statute which allows a “young offender” to apply for an expungement after one year from the date of conviction or the end of probation (whichever is later). This means that the juvenile will not have to wait the normal 5 or 10 year requirement like an adult would have to before an expungement is available. This is a common practice throughout Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Union counties.

NJSA:52-5 is the statute that deals with Expungement for Young Drug Offenders and it states that “after a period of not less than one year following conviction, termination of probation or parole or discharge from custody, whichever is later, any person convicted o f an offense under chapters 35 or 36 of this title for the possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance… and who at the time of the offense was 21 years of age or younger, may apply to the Superior Court in the county wherein the matter was disposed of for the expungement of such person’s conviction and all records pertaining thereto.”