Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee,GP He was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting attended by 10,000 attorneys and professionals. Visit Website www.njlaws.com
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817
(732) 572-0500
http://www.njlaws.com/

Sunday, July 19, 2015

33:1-81. Underage drinking and Misrepresenting age to induce sale or delivery to minor; disorderly person

 33:1-81. Underage drinking and Misrepresenting age to induce sale or delivery to minor; disorderly person
Our office represents people charged with Underage drinking at events such as PNC Arts Center/ Garden State Arts Center Holmdel, NJ.

 Criminal charges can cost you.  If convicted, you can face high fines, jail, Probation  and other penalties.  Don't give up!  Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal violations. Our website www.njlaws.com provides information on criminal offenses we can be retained to represent people.

The following is current criminal law plus amendments as of April. 2004 on 33:1-81. Underage drinking and Misrepresenting age to induce sale or delivery to minor

     33:1-81.  It shall be unlawful for:

      (a)  A person under the legal age for purchasing alcoholic beverages to enter any premises licensed for the retail sale of alcoholic  beverages for the purpose of purchasing, or having served or delivered to him or her, any alcoholic beverage; or

    (b)  A person under the legal age for purchasing alcoholic beverages to consume any alcoholic beverage on premises licensed for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages, or to purchase, attempt to purchase or have another purchase for him any alcoholic beverage; or

    (c)  Any person to misrepresent or misstate his age, or the age of any other person for the purpose of inducing any licensee or any employee of any licensee, to sell, serve or deliver any alcoholic beverage to a person under the legal age for purchasing alcoholic beverages; or

    (d)  Any person to enter any premises licensed for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages for the purpose of purchasing, or to purchase alcoholic beverages, for another person who does not because of his age have the right to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages.

    Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall be deemed and adjudged to be a disorderly person, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500.00. In addition, the court shall suspend or postpone the person's license to operate a motor vehicle for six months.

    Upon the conviction of any person under this section, the court shall forward a report to the Division of Motor Vehicles stating the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section.  If a person at the time of the imposition of a sentence is less than 17 years of age, the period of license postponement, including a suspension or postponement of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed and shall run for a period of six months after the person reaches the age of 17 years.

    If a person at the time of the imposition of a sentence has a valid driver's license issued by this State, the court shall immediately collect the license and forward it to the division along with the report.  If for any reason the license cannot be collected, the court shall include in the report the complete name, address, date of birth, eye color, and sex of the person as well as the first and last date of the license suspension period imposed by the court.

    The court shall inform the person orally and in writing that if the person is convicted of operating a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension or postponement, the person shall be subject to the penalties set forth in R.S. 39:3-40.  A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of the written notice in writing.  Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of a violation of R.S. 39:3-40.

    If the person convicted under this section is not a New Jersey resident, the court shall suspend or postpone, as appropriate given the age at the time of sentencing, the non-resident driving privilege of the person and submit to the division the required report.  The court shall not collect the license of a non-resident convicted under this section. Upon receipt of a report by the court, the division shall notify the appropriate officials in the licensing jurisdiction of the suspension or postponement.

    In addition to the general penalties prescribed for an offense, the court may require any person under the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages who violates this act to participate in an alcohol education or treatment program authorized by the Department of Health for a period not to exceed the maximum period of confinement prescribed by law for the offense for which the individual has been convicted.


33:1-81.1.  Hearing;  attendance by parent or guardian;  subpoena
    In any hearing for a violation of section 33:1-81 of the Revised Statutes the court in its discretion may require the attendance at such hearing of a parent or guardian, if there be no parent, of the minor charged with such violation if such parent or guardian is a resident of the State and may, in its  discretion, compel such attendance by subpoena.


33:1-81.1a.  Violations by parent, guardian, notification, fine
     A parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of a person under 18 years of age found in violation of R.S. 33:1-81 or section 1 of P.L. 1979, c.264 (C. 2C:33-15) shall be notified of the violation in writing.  The parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of a person under 18 years of age shall be subject to a fine in the amount of $500.00 upon any subsequent violation of R.S. 33:1-81 or section 1 of P.L. 1979, c.264 (C. 2C:33-15) on the part of such person if it is shown that the parent, guardian or other person having legal custody failed or neglected to exercise reasonable supervision or control over the conduct of the person under 18 years of age.

CONCLUSION

If charged with any criminal offense, immediately schedule an appointment with a criminal trial attorney. Don't rely on a real estate attorney, public defender or a family member who took a law class in school. When your life and job is on the line, hire the best attorney available.


 KENNETH  VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
 2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
(Fax)  732-572-0030
                                   
TRIAL AND LITIGATION EXPERIENCE
In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters.  He appears in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Criminal and Municipal/ traffic Court trials, Probate hearings,  and contested administrative law hearings.

Mr. Vercammen served as the Prosecutor for the Township of Cranbury, Middlesex County and was involved in trials on a weekly basis.  He also argued all pre-trial motions and post-trial applications on behalf of the State of New Jersey.

He has also served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Hightstown, Carteret, East Brunswick, Jamesburg, South Brunswick,  South River and South Plainfield for conflict cases.  Since 1989, he has personally handled hundreds of criminal and motor vehicle matters as a Prosecutor and now as defense counsel and has had substantial success.

Previously, Mr. Vercammen was Public Defender for the Township of Edison and Borough of Metuchen and a Designated Counsel for the Middlesex County Public Defender's Office.  He represented  indigent individuals facing consequences of magnitude.  He was in Court trying cases and making motions in difficult criminal and DWI matters.  Every case he personally handled and prepared.

His resume sets forth the numerous bar associations and activities which demonstrate his commitment to the legal profession and providing quality representation to clients.

Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters.  Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court) with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings,  Middlesex County Probation Department  as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate, Thomas Hart, in Scranton, PA.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pretextual stops for tinted windows valid

Pretextual stops for tinted windows valid 
   Usually- Police could stop for tinted windows.  State v. Cohen 347 NJ Super. 375 (App. Div. 2002)    Defendant appealed the Law Division's affirmance of the municipal court's denial of a motion to suppress, which found that a stop of defendant's vehicle was justified based on the officer's reasonable belief that tinted windows constituted a violation of a motor vehicle statute.  We affirmed, holding that N.J.S.A. 39:3-74 prohibits the use of tinted windows that fail to meet the applicable standard set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:20-33.7, Thereby overruling State v. Harrison, 236 N.J. Super. 69 (Law Div. 1989), and In re R.M. and J.M., 343 N.J. Super. 153 (Ch. Div. 2001).   Further, an automobile stop is proper so long as it is based on a reasonable, articulable suspicion that a violation has occurred, and the officer's belief that the tinted windows represented a significant obstruction was sufficient to implicate the "community caretaking" function. Lastly, N.J.S.A. 39:3-15, which exempts non-resident owners of vehicles registered in other states from complying with New Jersey equipment requirements, does not preclude an officer from conducting an identification check of a noncompliance vehicle.
39:3-74.  Windshields must be unobstructed and equipped with cleaners
    Every motor vehicle having a windshield shall be equipped with at least one  device in good working order for cleaning rain, snow or other moisture from the  windshield so as to provide clear vision for the driver, and all such devices  shall be so constructed and installed as to be operated or controlled by the  driver.

    No person shall drive any motor vehicle with any sign, poster, sticker or other non-transparent material upon the front windshield, wings, deflectors, side shields, corner lights adjoining windshield or front side windows of such vehicle other than a certificate or other article required to be so displayed by statute or by regulations of the commissioner.

    No person shall drive any vehicle so constructed, equipped or loaded as to unduly interfere with the driver's vision to the front and to the sides.

2A:61C-1 Shoplifting civil demand, retail thefts, civil action; provided.

2A:61C-1 Shoplifting civil demand, retail thefts, civil action; provided.

In addition to criminal charges in a shoplifting case, the store can demand a civil penalty

1. a. A person who commits the offense of shoplifting as defined in N.J.S.2C:20-11 or a person who commits the offense of theft as defined in Chapter 20 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes by stealing food or drink from an eating establishment shall be liable for any criminal penalties imposed by law and shall be liable to the merchant in a civil action in an amount equal to the following: 

(1)The value of the merchandise as damages, not to exceed $500, if the merchandise cannot be restored to the merchant in its original condition;

(2)Additional damages, if any, arising from the incident, not to include any loss of time or wages incurred by the merchant in connection with the apprehension of the defendant; and 

(3)A civil penalty payable to the merchant in an amount of up to $150.

b.A parent, guardian or other person having legal custody of a minor who commits the offense of shoplifting or the offense of theft of food or drink from an eating establishment shall be liable to the merchant for the damages specified in subsection a. of this section. This subsection shall not apply to a parent whose parental custody and control of such minor has been removed by court order, decree, judgment, military service, or marriage of such infant, or to a resource family parent of such minor. 

c.If a merchant institutes a civil action pursuant to the provisions of this section, the prevailing party in that action shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys fees and reasonable court costs.

d.Limitations on civil action:

(1)Before a civil action may be commenced, the merchant shall send a notice to the defendant’s last known address giving the defendant 20 days to respond. It is not a condition precedent to maintaining an action under this act that the defendant has been convicted of shoplifting or theft. 

(2)No civil action under this act may be maintained if the defendant has paid the merchant a penalty equal to the retail value of the merchandise where the merchandise was not recovered in its original condition, plus a sum of up to $150. 

(3)The provisions of this act do not apply in any case where the value of the merchandise exceeds $500.

e.If the person to whom a written demand is made complies with such demand within 20 days following the receipt of the demand, that person shall be given a written release from further civil liability with respect to the specific act of shoplifting or theft. 

5:22-2. Referral Without Juvenile's Consent to adult court

5:22-2. Referral Without Juvenile's Consent to adult court

  • (a) Motion for Referral. A motion seeking waiver of jurisdiction by the Family Part shall be filed by the prosecutor within 30 days after the receipt of the complaint, which time shall not be extended except for good cause shown.
  • (b) Probable Cause; Evidence. At the referral hearing, the court shall receive the evidence offered by the State and by the juvenile, limited to the issue of probable cause. The court also shall permit cross-examination of any witnesses.
  • (c) Standards for Referral. The court shall waive jurisdiction of a juvenile delinquency action without the juvenile's consent and shall refer the action to the appropriate court and prosecuting authority having jurisdiction under the following circumstances:
    • (1) Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 14 or Older and Charged with a Chart 2 Offense. The juvenile must have been 14 years of age or older at the time of the alleged delinquent act and there must be probable cause to believe that he or she committed a delinquent act which if committed by an adult would constitute:
      • (A) a crime committed at a time when the juvenile had previously been adjudicated delinquent, or convicted of:
        • 1. criminal homicide, other than death by auto; or
        • 2. strict liability for drug-induced deaths (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9); or
        • 3. first degree robbery; or
        • 4. carjacking; or
        • 5. aggravated sexual assault; or
        • 6. sexual assault; or
        • 7. second degree aggravated assault; or
        • 8. kidnapping; or
        • 9. aggravated arson; or
      • (B) a crime committed at a time when the juvenile had previously been sentenced to and confined in an adult penal institution; or
      • (C) an offense against a person committed in an aggressive, violent, and willful manner, other than a Chart 1 offense enumerated in N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26a(2)(a); or the unlawful possession of a firearm, destructive device or other prohibited weapon; or arson; or death by auto if the juvenile was operating the vehicle under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic, or habit-producing drug; or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes; or
      • (D) a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3 (Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4 (Maintaining and Operating a CDS Production Facility), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 (Manufacturing, Distributing or Dispensing Narcotics), or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes, other than where the violation, attempt or conspiracy involves the distribution for pecuniary gain of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while on any school property or within 1000 feet of such school property; or
      • (E) a crime or crimes that are part of a continuing criminal activity in concert with two or more persons, when the circumstances show that the juvenile has knowingly devoted himself or herself to criminal activity as a source of livelihood; or
      • (F) theft of an automobile.
        On a finding of probable cause for any of the offenses enumerated above, the burden is on the prosecution to show that the nature and circumstances of the charge or the juvenile's prior record are sufficiently serious that the interests of the public require waiver. Waiver shall not be granted, however, if the juvenile can show that the probability of his or her rehabilitation prior to reaching the age of 19 by use of the procedures, services, and facilities available to the court substantially outweighs the reasons for waiver.
    • (2) Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 14 or 15 and Charged with a Chart 1 Offense or with Certain Drug Offenses Committed Within a School Zone. The juvenile must have been 14 or 15 years old at the time of the alleged delinquent act and there must be probable cause to believe that he or she committed a delinquent act that if committed by an adult would constitute
      • (A) criminal homicide, other than death by auto; or strict liability for drug-induced deaths; or first degree robbery; or carjacking; or aggravated sexual assault; or sexual assault; or second degree aggravated assault; or kidnapping; or aggravated arson; or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes; or
      • (B) possession of a firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person of another under subsection (a) of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4, or possession of a firearm while committing or attempting to commit, including the immediate flight therefrom, aggravated assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, burglary or escape; or
      • (C) a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3 (Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4 (Maintaining and Operating a CDS Production Facility), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 (Manufacturing, Distributing or Dispensing Narcotics), or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes; and which violation, attempt or conspiracy involves the distribution for pecuniary gain of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while on any school property or within 1000 feet of such school property; or
      • (D) computer activity that would be a crime of the first or second degree pursuant to section 4 or section 10 of P.L.1984, c.184 (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-25 or 2C:20-31).
        On a finding of probable cause for any of these enumerated offenses, there is a rebuttable presumption that waiver will occur. The juvenile can rebut this presumption only by demonstrating that the probability of his or her rehabilitation prior to reaching the age of 19 by use of the procedures, services or facilities available to the court substantially outweighs the reasons for waiver.
    • (3) Prosecutorial Discretion for Juveniles Age 16 or Older and Charged with a Chart 1 Offense or Certain Other Enumerated Offenses. The juvenile must have been 16 years of age or older at the time of the alleged delinquent act and there must be probable cause to believe that he or she committed a delinquent act that if committed by an adult would constitute
      • (A) criminal homicide, other than death by auto; or strict liability for drug-induced deaths; or first degree robbery; or carjacking; or aggravated sexual assault; or sexual assault; or second degree aggravated assault; or kidnapping; or aggravated arson; or
      • (B) possession of a firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person of another under subsection (a) of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4, or possession of a firearm while committing or attempting to commit, including the immediate flight therefrom, aggravated assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, burglary or escape; or
      • (C) a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3 (Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4 (Maintaining and Operating a CDS Production Facility), or N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4.1 (Weapons Possession While Committing Certain CDS Offenses); or
      • (D) computer activity that would be a crime of the first or second degree pursuant to section 4 or section 10 of P.L.1984, c.184 (N.J.S.A. 2C:20-25 or C.2C:20-31).
        On a finding of probable cause for any of these enumerated offenses, no additional showing is required for waiver to occur. Jurisdiction of the case shall be transferred immediately.
    • (4) Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 16 or 17 and Charged with Certain Drug Offenses Committed Within a School Zone. The juvenile must have been 16 years of age or older at the time of the alleged delinquent act and there must be probable cause to believe that he or she committed a delinquent act that if committed by an adult would constitute
      • (A) a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 (Manufacturing, Distributing or Dispensing Narcotics), or an attempt or conspiracy to commit this crime; and which violation, attempt or conspiracy involves the distribution for pecuniary gain of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while on school property or within 1000 feet of such school property.
        On a finding of probable cause for any such offense, there is a rebuttable presumption that waiver will occur. The juvenile can rebut this presumption only by demonstrating that the probability of his or her rehabilitation prior to reaching the age of 19 by use of the procedures, services and facilities available to the court substantially outweighs the reasons for waiver.
    • (d) Order of Reference. An order referring a case shall incorporate therein not only the alleged act or acts upon which the referral is based but all other delinquent acts charged against the juvenile arising out of or related to the same transaction.
    • (e) Admissibility of Testimony Given at Referral Hearing. No testimony of a juvenile at a hearing to determine referral by this rule shall be admissible for any purpose in any subsequent hearing to determine delinquency or guilt of any offense.
Note: Source-R.R.. (1969) 5:9-5(b), (c). Adopted December 20, 1983, to be effective December 31, 1983; paragraph (b)(2)(E) amended July 14, 1992 to be effective September 1, 1992; paragraphs (a), (b)(2)(F) and (b)(4) amended July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994; paragraphs (a) and (b)(2)(D), (E) and (F) amended, paragraph (b)(2)(G) adopted June 28, 1996 to be effective September 1, 1996; paragraphs (b) and (b)(1) amended, former paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(3), and (b)(4) deleted, new paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(3), and (b)(4) added July 10, 2002 to be effective September 3, 2002; paragraphs (b)(2)(B) and (b)(2)(C) amended, new paragraph (b)(2)(D) adopted, paragraph (b)(3) caption amended, paragraphs (b)(3)(B) and (b)(3)(C) amended, new paragraph (b)(3)(D) adopted July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004; new paragraph (b) added, and former paragraphs (b), (c), (d) redesignated as paragraphs (c), (d), (e) June 15, 2007 to be effective September 1, 2007.

5:22-3. Detention Hearing After Referral

When a case is referred to another court as provided by R. 5:22-1 or R. 5:22-2, the court waiving jurisdiction shall, on hearing, determine pursuant to the criteria set forth in N.J.S. 2A:4A-36(a) whether the juvenile, if in custody pending trial, shall be confined in an adult or juvenile detention facility. In no case shall a juvenile be remanded to an adult detention facility prior to the hearing provided for herein.
Note: Source-R.R.. (1969) 5:9-5(d). Adopted December 20, 1983, to be effective December 31, 1983; caption and text amended November 5, 1986 to be effective January 1, 1987.

5:22-4. Proceedings After Transfer

Whenever a case is referred to another court as provided by R. 5:22-1 or R. 5:22-2, the action shall proceed in the same manner as if it has been instituted in that court in the first instance.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Deferred Adjudication for first time offenders in a Juvenile Delinquency Case

Deferred Adjudication in a Juvenile Delinquency Case

By:  Kenneth A. Vercammen

In a Juvenile case, if the child is a first time offender the attorney can make a Motion for a t"deferred adjudication" . If the Motion by the attorney is granted, the judge may direct the juvenile to perform a job, write an essay, be on unsupervised probation, or direct other requirements.  The juvenile must earn dismissal of the charges by fulfilling conditions such as restitution, community service, counseling, or school attendance.
The court can order any disposition to aid in your child’s rehabilitation and to reinforce your child’s accountability including fines, community service, and/or a term of supervision such as probation, deferred disposition, or a period of confinement.

In some instances, formal disposition can be deferred or delayed for up to one year. During this period, your child must complete any special conditions ordered by the judge and must not be charged with a new offense. If he or she meets all conditions during the deferral period, the complaint will be dismissed. If conditions are not met, the original complaint will go back to court and be heard by the judge.
Source: https://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/prose/11358_juv_delq_proc_child.pdf
For those over 18, if you have no prior criminal charges I recommended that my clients apply for PTI Pre Trial Intervention. More details at http://www.njlaws.com/pre-trial_intervention.html.
Handling juvenile delinquency cases is becoming a sub-specialty that requires special knowledge of the juvenile justice system.  Juvenile cases are difficult to handle for different reasons: 
(1) The juveniles often refuse to admit to their attorney any participation in the offense despite clear guilt.
(2) The parents sometimes refuse to acknowledge their child's involvement.
(3) Different rules and court systems are involved.
When the client is first in the office, we have him fill out the Confidential New Criminal Case Interview Sheet.  We obtain background information such as their name, address, the offenses charged, date of the person's arrest, other witnesses, statements given to them by the police, their occupation and information regarding prior criminal convictions.  Our interview sheet also asks if there is anything else important.  The extent to which the client fills out the form lets us know whether or not the client will follow instructions and cooperate with us.
After reviewing the complaint and the interview sheet, I ask a series of questions of the client. We request the client wait until the end of the interview before explaining their side of the story.  We also ask them if there is anything else of importance in connection with the case that we should know.  The client may have pending serious criminal charges in another state or county.  I usually open up our statute book and show the clients the specific language of the offense they are charged with and explain to them the maximum penalties that could be imposed.  By understanding the charges they are facing, my clients are more likely to realize the seriousness of the offense and pay our retainer.  The ABA adopted Rules of Professional Conduct indicate a retainer letter or written statement of fees is required for new clients.  I also provide all my clients with a brochure explaining how to appear in court, a brochure on surcharges, a brochure on points, and a brochure regarding alcohol counseling/substance abuse treatment, if applicable.
I recommend that my clients provide me with a list of between 10 to 15 reasons why they should not go to jail and why the court should impose the minimum license suspension.  This provides us with information for mitigation and penalties and also provides information to be considered by the judge in sentencing.

       I.   WHO IS THE CLIENT?

The client must be the juvenile charged.  It is not the parent or grandmother who pays the bills.  It is important to preserve the confidence of the client.  I let the juvenile know that they can call us whenever they want, and we will not tell their parents anything told in confidence.
Discovery in non-motor vehicle cases is requested in writing to the
County Prosecutor, not the town Municipal Prosecutor.  Motor vehicle charges alone are heard by the Municipal Court Judge and handled by the Municipal Prosecutor.
Trial Call is the next appearance and the defense counsel will receive discovery, if it has not previously been received.  Applicable motions should be filed prior to the trial call:  Motion to Suppress, Compel Additional Discovery, Dismiss Complaint, etc.
Juveniles have most of the same rights under the Constitution as adults:
 - 4th Amendment - No unreasonable searches
 - 5th Amendment - Right to Remain Silent
 - 6th Amendment - Right to Attorney
 - 6th Amendment - Right to Cross Examine Witnesses
 Unlike adults, juveniles do not have a right to a jury trial and do not have to post bail.
         It is a popular misconception that juvenile arrests are automatically erased when the juvenile turns 18.  The criminal "charge", even if later dismissed, stays on their record forever unless they have their attorney file a formal petition for Expungement.
          Once we receive our retainer, we begin work right away. Usually while the client is still in the office, we prepare a discovery letter on the computer to the prosecutor and court and hand a copy to the client.  We occasionally call the court to advise them that we will be handling the case. 
Law is a business.  I try to impress my clients and hope that they will send additional clients.

       II.   POST INTERVIEW PREPARATION
We also make a Motion to Suppress where there is a question regarding the validity of a stop or search.  New Jersey will also permit you to make a Motion to Dismiss on De Minimis Infractions for non-substantial offenses (i.e. shoplifting one candy bar).  Any other Motions to Dismiss should be made in writing such as statute of limitations or lack of jurisdiction.
         Oftentimes in cases that deal with just one triable issue such as the admissibility of a blood test result regarding alcohol or drugs, you can make a Motion in Limine or suggest a pre-trial conference.  It is often a good idea to try to have the judge decide a crucial issue by motion in order to save you a six-hour trial.

          III.  ADDITIONAL DISCOVERY PHASE
 Upon receiving discovery, we forward a photocopy of all discovery to our client.  We then discuss with the client whether or not we have a reasonable prospect of winning.
In the case involving essential witnesses, we may write to the witnesses and ask them to call us so that we can find out what really happened. If possible I have a law clerk call up after we send the initial letter.  The attorney could not testify if the witness provides an inconsistent statement but our law clerks could testify.  I sometimes speak to the witness myself later to make a decision to determine whether or not the witnesses are credible.  You must protect yourself from looking like a fool.  Oftentimes the clients are not telling the truth and the witnesses are not telling the truth.

 IV. PREPARING FOR TRIAL
         If it is a drug case, we may make an objection to the entry of the lab certificate as evidence at trial.  We are also under a responsibility to provide any reciprocal discovery to the prosecutor.  Occasionally, we will call the prosecutor ahead of time to see if a matter can be worked out or plea bargained. In a rare, more serious case the Prosecutor can file a motion to have the case transferred to the adult superior court


THE OFFENSE AND ARREST

Police are permitted to arrest if they see a crime or are provided with information that a juvenile committed a crime.  The police then sign a Complaint Form, which later is forwarded to the Superior Court, Family Part, in the county where the juvenile lives.  Generally, the juvenile will be released to the custody of parents or guardians.  Rule 5:21-5. A person is a juvenile for delinquency purposes until his/her 18th birthday.  For serious crimes, if the juvenile is a threat to themselves or the community, or if the juvenile is a habitual offender, they can be brought to the County Juvenile Detention Center.  They will remain in detention until released by the Superior Court Judge at a recall hearing, after a probable cause hearing or at the conclusion of the case.  It is rare and serious when a juvenile is held at the Detention Center.

MIRANDA WARNING AND CONFESSIONS

Police must provide Miranda Warning to juveniles.  Parents/guardians do not have to be present for police questioning.  If a confession is sought and you need to try and preclude the admission of a confession, the issue will be whether the waiver of Miranda Warning was "knowing and voluntary" by the juvenile.
Caselaw indicates both juveniles and even retarded citizens can waive their right to remain silent.

DIVERSION OF CRIMINAL CHARGES

In many counties, the County Prosecutor's office screens each complaint initially, but staff within the Family Court can make the decision to divert the case or not.   Diversion for many cases means removing them from court altogether and sending them for total handling to a Juvenile Conference Committee (J.C.C.) or intake service conference.  See the Criminal Justice System, "Guide for School Personnel," Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, p. 20 (1996).
The first rung on the diversion ladder is the Juvenile Conference Committee (J.C.C.), which is a town-based group of citizens who work with the juvenile offender to devise an appropriate resolution of the case.  Rule 5:25-1.
Citizen members are appointed to recommend to the court how to handle selected juvenile cases.  Members meet with the juveniles and make recommendations, which may include restitution, participation in a job placement or community service program, counseling, or other conditions.
For juveniles with prior charges or more serious charges, the case is put on the formal trial calendar.  These proceedings resemble adult criminal proceedings. The juvenile must be represented by an attorney and the state is represented by an Assistant Prosecutor.
In a "deferred adjudication" the judge may direct the juvenile to perform a job, write an essay, be on unsupervised probation, or direct other requirements.  The juvenile must earn dismissal by fulfilling conditions such as restitution, community service, counseling, or school attendance.

FORMAL TRIAL
If the case goes to trial, the judge serves as the fact-finder and makes all decisions, unlike adult court where those charged can have a jury trial.  The trial is held before a Superior Court Judge in the county where the juvenile resides.  Rule 5:19-1.
Another major difference in juvenile cases is that the prosecutor does not make binding sentencing recommendations as part of a plea bargain.  The judge has total discretion regarding the sentence imposed.  If the juvenile pleads guilty or is found delinquent (guilty), the judge has the discretion on sentence - deferred adjudication, probation, incarceration, residential placement, restitution, fine, etc.  Criminal Justice System, supra at 21.
Relatively few juveniles are currently incarcerated but the number may increase as legislative changes require jail terms for juveniles who commit certain offenses such as auto thefts and for juveniles who continue to commit more and more heinous offenses.
For the most serious crimes, the County Prosecutor can make a motion to remove to the Adult Criminal Court.  Rule 5:22-1, Rule 5:22-2.

FIRST APPEARANCE IN FORMAL TRIAL CASES

The Court itself will send a copy of the Complaint to the juvenile's parents and a Mandatory Notice to Appear for an Interview for Public Defender Eligibility. The Public Defender handles only indigent cases, juveniles whose parents are on welfare, unemployed, and have no assets.
This mandatory appearance is unnecessary once the client retains an attorney and the attorney sends in a Notice of Appearance.

THE TRIAL

         Interview witnesses to determine if they will be credible and help your client. Serve your subpoenas on witnesses in sufficient time prior to trial. Have your legal research done prior to trial, such as on constructive possession of drugs or stolen property.

             V.   PLEA TO A LESSER DEFENSE

If the client is going to enter a guilty plea to any offense, it is important that they understand what the offense is and put a factual basis on the record.  You will be embarrassed if your client is pleading guilty to a drunk driving case and the judge asked your client what he had to drink, the client insists he only had one beer.  The judge will send you back to your seat and must refuse to take the guilty plea unless an adequate factual basis is put on the record.  Having previously obtained for my client their favorable background, I usually put on the record reasons why the judge should give them the minimum penalties.
Most states, such as New Jersey have a conditional discharge, pre-trial intervention, or other programs that are available to clients charged with drug offenses who have never previously been arrested or previously been convicted of the drug offense.  Again, to avoid embarrassment, it is a good idea to speak with the prosecutor and the police officer because they may have a criminal abstract to indicate that the client is not eligible for a conditional discharge type program.  Letters of reference and character reference letters are helpful in cases where the judge has wide discretion in his sentencing.  After the client pleads guilty, it is a good idea to also ask the client on the record if he has any questions of myself or of the court.


IMPORTANT LAWS MOST JUVENILES DON'T KNOW ABOUT

Assault:  Any assault committed against any teacher, school board employee, school board member, or school administrator is an aggravated assault.  NJSA 2C:12-1 et seq.

Graffiti:  Penalties were increased for graffiti, and include driver's license loss for juveniles, P.L. 1995 c. 251.  Amends NJSA 2C:17-3 (Criminal mischief and other statutes).  In the case of a person who at the time of the imposition of sentence is less than 17 years of age, the period of the suspension of driving privileges authorized herein, including a suspension of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed and shall run for a period of one year after the day the person reaches the age of 17 years.  If the driving privilege of any person is under revocation, suspension, or postponement for a violation of any provision of this Title or Title 39 of the Revised Statutes at the time of any conviction or adjudication of delinquency for a violation of any offense defined in this section, the revocation, suspension, or postponement period imposed herein shall commence as of the date of termination of the existing revocation, suspension, or postponement.  Any person convicted of criminal mischief involving graffiti may be required to pay to the owner monetary restitution and perform community service and remove graffiti.

Drugs:  Sample Mandatory Penalties for Juvenile - Possession of Small
Amounts   of Marijuana:
-Suspension of Driver's License:  2C:35-16    Six months to two years from date of sentence.
-DEDR Penalty $500 required under NJSA 2C:35-15a.  This $500 penalty is required even in juvenile cases, as required by statute. State in
Intent of LM  22   NJ Super 88, (App. Div. 88)   court denied 114 NJ 485
(1989)
-Drug Lab Fee $50    2C:35-20a
-VCCB $50 according to 2C:43-3.1a(2)(o)
-Safe Streets - Fee due upon conviction, PTI or CD $75

About the Author:
Kenneth A. Vercammen is a trial attorney in Metuchen, Middlesex
County, New Jersey. Kenneth Vercammen was included in the  Super Lawyer directory published by West and NJ Monthly in the Criminal - DWI. Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutor's Association.

 He is the past chair of the NJ State Bar Association Municipal Court Section. He is the Deputy chair of the ABA Criminal Law committee, GP Division.
      
KENNETH  VERCAMMEN  ATTORNEY AT LAW 
2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817      732-572-0500

NJ LAWS LEGAL WEBSITE: www.njlaws.com
Criminal website    www.BeNotGuilty.com

He has lectured on traffic and criminal law for the New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and Middlesex County College.   He often lectures for the New Jersey State Bar Association on personal injury, criminal /municipal court law and drunk driving.   He has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on municipal court and litigation topics. He has served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in seven different cities and towns in New Jersey and also successfully defended hundreds of individuals facing Municipal Court and Criminal Court charges.

In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters.  He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Municipal Court trials, matrimonial hearings and contested administrative law hearings.


Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters.  Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court),with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings,  Middlesex County Probation Dept as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate, Thomas Hart, in Scranton, PA.