Juvenile Referees in New Jersey

Bergen County NJ Juvenile Court Defense Lawyer with Offices in Hackensack

NJ Juvenile Referee ProgramIf a juvenile is arrested in New Jersey and local police do not decide to hold a stationhouse adjustment, they will file a criminal complaint which is then sent to the Superior Court, Family Division in the county where the juvenile lives. At this point, the case will be evaluated and put on a track, based on the specific circumstances. Some cases will proceed to a formal hearing before a Juvenile Judge, while others will be heard before a Juvenile Referee. The New Jersey Juvenile Referee Program is among the informal, alternative programs that can be used to resolve a juvenile delinquency case without formal court proceedings. When your child is scheduled to appear at a Juvenile Referee hearing, it is highly advisable to have an experienced juvenile defense attorney to ensure that their rights are protected. Alissa Hascup is gifted former prosecutor-turned defense attorney who passionately serves on behalf of children and parents across New Jersey throughout the juvenile justice process. Her reputation for excellence is coupled with a fierce dedication to her clients. In fact, Alissa was named among the Top 100 Criminal Trial Lawyers in the Nation, by the National Trial Lawyers Association. If your child has juvenile charges pending before a Juvenile Referee or Juvenile Judge in Middlesex County, Bergen County, Union County, Essex County, Passaic County, or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Alissa Hascup at 862-257-1200 for a free consultation with a New Jersey juvenile defense attorney who will be happy to answer all of your questions.

What is a Juvenile Referee Hearing

A Juvenile Referee is a person appointed by the Family Court Judge, and approved by the Chief Justice. He or she must meet all of the State’s qualifying criteria and receive specific training in order to be approved for the position. A Juvenile Referee may hear a plea from a juvenile at a fact-finding hearing, or conduct a hearing if the juvenile pleads “not guilty.” At the Juvenile Referee hearing, which is more informal that a typical Juvenile Court hearing, both the defendant and the State can call witnesses and submit evidence regarding the alleged criminal offense. The juvenile is also allowed to testify if he or she so chooses. After hearing from all parties and considering the facts of the case, the Juvenile Referee will deem the juvenile “delinquent” or “not delinquent.” The Juvenile Referee will then make recommendations with regard to disposition of the case, keeping in mind any recommendations made by the law enforcement officer and the victim involved.

Who is Eligible for a Juvenile Referee Hearing in New Jersey

Some of the most common juvenile cases that may be resolved through a Juvenile Referee hearing are:

  • Petty disorderly persons offenses, disorderly persons offenses, and fourth degree crimes
  • Unsuccessful Intake Services Conferences
  • Unsuccessful Juvenile Conference Committee meetings
  • Repeat minor offenses involving a juvenile who has exhausted the diversionary alternatives of the court, and
  • Violations of probation or court orders resulting from a recommendation of the juvenile referee or an informal court disposition

Potential Dispositions of a Juvenile Referee Hearing

A disposition simply means the way in which the case is resolved. After the hearing or after the juvenile submits a guilty plea, the Juvenile Referee can recommend any number of dispositions to the Juvenile Judge, including: dismissal of the complaint, supervised probation, suspension of driver’s license, community service, restitution to the victim, fines, mental health counseling, and referral to other special services. Notably, the standard in juvenile cases in New Jersey is always the best interests of the child, so the Juvenile Referee must consider what would be best to rehabilitate the juvenile when making his or her recommendation. The Juvenile Referee’s recommendation is then reviewed by the Juvenile Judge, who decides whether or not to sign the order implementing the proposed disposition.

Contact Newark NJ Juvenile Defense Attorneys to Discuss Your Case

If you are dealing with a juvenile criminal matter that may be scheduled for a Juvenile Referee hearing, Juvenile Conference Committee meeting, or formal court proceedings, Alissa Hascup can help. She regularly assists juvenile defendants and is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome in your juvenile matter. Simply contact our offices at 862-257-1200 for additional information and a cost-free consultation. We regularly represent juveniles in Morristown, Parsippany, Newark, Montclair, Paramus, North Plainfield, Bridgewater, Edison, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey.

To read more about the New Jersey Juvenile Referee Program, view the NJ Juvenile Referee Program Standards.