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Mandatory Attorney Representation Of A Juvenile

Unlike most criminal proceedings where representation by a defense attorney is at the election of the defendant, that is not the case in the Juvenile Division. Every child that appears in the juvenile court must be represented by a counsel. A parent nor juvenile has the discretion to decide to appear pro se (i.e. appear without an attorney). Assignment of counsel is mandatory. This is the primary reason why one of the first appearances in a juvenile case is the Mandatory Assignment of Counsel Hearing. If your child has been charged with a criminal offense, you therefore need to find him/her an attorney. We encourage you to consider our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, in this regard. Our credentials are exceptional and we welcome the opportunity to discuss exactly what we can do to assist your juvenile. Call us 24/7 for a free consultation at 973-710-1520 or to set up an appointment in our Newark Office.

The New Jersey Law that addresses a juvenile’s right to counsel is contained at N.J.S. 2A:4A-39. The statute provides that:

a. A juvenile shall have the right, as provided by the Rules of Court, to be represented by counsel at every critical stage in the proceeding which, in the opinion of the court may result in the institutional commitment of the juvenile.

b. During every court proceeding in a delinquency case, the waiving of any right afforded to a juvenile shall be accomplished in the following manner:

(1) A juvenile who is found to have mental capacity may not waive any rights except in the presence of and after consultation with counsel, and unless a parent has first been afforded a reasonable opportunity to consult with the juvenile and the juvenile’s counsel regarding this decision. The parent or guardian may not waive the rights of a juvenile found to have mental capacity.

(2) Any such waiver shall be executed in writing or recorded. Before the court may accept a waiver, the court shall question the juvenile and the juvenile’s counsel to determine if the juvenile is knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily waiving any right. If the court finds after questioning the juvenile that the waiver is not being made voluntarily and intelligently, the waiver shall be denied.

(3) A juvenile who is found to lack mental capacity may not waive any right. A guardian ad litem shall be appointed for the juvenile who may waive rights after consultation with the juvenile and the juvenile’s counsel .

(4) Waivers shall be executed in the language regularly spoken by the juvenile.

Call Our Highly Experienced Essex County Juvenile Attorneys For The Representation You Need

If your minor is facing juvenile criminal charges in Newark, we would like to help him/her. For a consultation, call us at 973-710-1520. An attorney is prepared to assist you immediately.