Essex County Juvenile Assault Defense Lawyers
Conduct that was excused as roughhousing in previous generations can now lead to your child facing criminal charges in the juvenile court system of New Jersey. One moment, you may have been dropping off your child at the mall or texting them after school and the next thing you know, you are receiving a call from the police telling you that they have your child in custody due to assault allegations. Assault charges may be filed against a juvenile, a child under the age of 18, in a variety of situations, ranging in severity from a disorderly persons offense to a second degree crime for aggravated assault. As the parent or guardian, it is important to know the various assault charges your child may be facing, along with the penalties of each and alternative sentences that may be available to your child as a juvenile facing criminal charges in New Jersey. Contact our Newark office to talk to an Essex County juvenile defense lawyer about your minor’s assault charge and ways we can defend them to protect their long-term prospects and their rights. Our firm defends juveniles charged with simple and aggravated assault in Verona, Essex Fells, South Orange, Livingston, Glen Ridge, Millburn, and elsewhere in Essex County. Call 201-654-3464 for your free consultation.
Juvenile Assault as a Disorderly Persons Offense in New Jersey
The crime of simple assault is classified as a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. Simple assault occurs when an individual attempts to cause bodily injury to another person purposely, knowingly, or recklessly. A juvenile can also be charged with simple assault if they negligently cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon or attempt to put a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury by physical menace.
Under New Jersey law, a disorderly persons offense is like a misdemeanor. If convicted of simple assault, your child could face up to six months in juvenile detention but may be eligible for alternative sentences discussed further below.
Juvenile Aggravated Assault in New Jersey
If charged with aggravated assault, a juvenile faces heightened penalties under the law, ranging from one year to three years in juvenile detention. Aggravated assault charges may apply in several different circumstances including an attempt to cause serious bodily harm. Aggravated assault also occurs when an individual purposely or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another, or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life. The notable difference in the aforementioned scenarios compared to simple assault is that when serious bodily harm is done or attempted, aggravated assault charges may be applied.
A juvenile can also be charged with aggravated assault if they purposely or knowingly (as compared to recklessly in simple assault) cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon, or knowingly point a firearm at or in the direction of another under circumstances demonstrating extreme indifference to the value of human life, whether or not the juvenile believes the firearm is loaded.
There are also several situations in which a juvenile may be charged with aggravated assault if they commit simple assault, as defined above, against certain special victims including law enforcement officers, paid or volunteer firefighters, emergency medical responders, school board members, administrators, and teachers, school bus drivers, Division of Children Protection and Permanency employees, judges, bus drivers, train operators, corrections officers, or health care workers.
What Happens when a Juvenile is Charged with Assault in NJ?
Before they are scheduled to appear in court, a juvenile charged with assault is typically released to their parents or guardians, unless they are considered to be a danger to the community or a flight risk, in which case, they may be detained at a juvenile detention center or placed on home detention with an electronic monitoring device. Notably, if a juvenile is found to be guilty of an offense, they are not “convicted” as an adult would be, but are rather “adjudicated delinquent”.
Penalties and Alternative Sentencing Options for NJ Juvenile Assault Charges
The penalties for juvenile assault in New Jersey also differ from those applied to adults. If a juvenile is charged with simple assault, which is a disorderly persons offense, or second, third, or fourth degree aggravated assault, and they are “adjudicated delinquent,” they may face time in juvenile detention rather than county jail or state prison.
Simple assault carries penalties of up to 6 months in juvenile detention. Aggravated assault penalties vary by degree with up to 1 year in juvenile detention for fourth degree aggravated assault, up to 2 years for third degree aggravated assault, and up to 3 years for second degree aggravated assault.
However, the main objective of the juvenile justice system is to promote the best interests of the child and their rehabilitation. In furtherance of this goal, there are many alternative sentences that the court may order including community service, probation, having charges dismissed after certain conditions are fulfilled, counseling, rehabilitation, and more.
Contact Juvenile Assault Attorneys in Newark NJ
When your child gets in trouble with the law, it can be frightening and feel overwhelming to navigate through. As a parent or guardian of a minor, you are entrusted to protect your child, and sometimes that includes protecting them from themselves. There are many reasons why the criminal justice system treats juveniles differently from adults, including that the law recognizes that children are not equipped with the maturity and judgment necessary to always make the right decisions.
A criminal assault charge against your child does not need to define their youth or their future. If your child has been charged with assault in New Jersey, now is the time to aggressively defend their interests with the help of a skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced juvenile lawyer. Our team of attorneys has defended countless juveniles against simple and aggravated assault charges, successfully getting the charges against our clients dismissed, having charges downgraded to a lesser charge, and obtaining alternative sentences with the least negative impact on our clients’ futures. Our lawyers handle juvenile assault cases and defense in Cedar Grove, Short Hills, Maplewood, Montclair, Bloomfield, Nutley, and other towns in Essex County. Contact us today by calling 201-654-3464 for a complimentary consultation with an attorney regarding your child’s case.