You have probably landed on this page because the police or the prosecutor has raised the threat of your child being waived to adult court instead of his/her criminal charge being handled in juvenile court. Waiver of a juvenile to the Criminal Division of the Superior Court exposes them to a sharp escalation in penalties since they then face punishment like an adult. It is therefore extremely important that you retain a knowledgeable New Jersey Juvenile Attorney if there is a chance that you child may be waived up to adult court. The attorneys at Marshall Bonus Preotta & Oliver are former prosecutors and skilled criminal defense lawyers who represent juveniles charged with criminal offenses throughout the state including Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Union County and Essex County. To speak to an attorney anytime 24/7, contact our office at 877-450-8301.

Referral Without Juvenile’s Consent

The prosecutor may file a motion to waive a juvenile to adult court under certain circumstances. Different standards must be applied by the court in ruling on this motion depending on whether the accused is 14 years of age or older and the nature of the criminal offense alleged. The following subheadings discuss the more important aspects of juvenile waiver on motion of the prosecutor.

Mandatory Waiver of Juvenile. The court must waive a child to to adult court if probable cause for the offense is established, the juvenile is at least 14 years old and: (1) the offense charged is homicide, drug-induced deaths, first degree robbery, carjacking, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, second degree aggravated assault, kidnapping or aggravated arson; (2) the accused has previously been convicted of one of the aforementioned offense; (3) the crime was committed when the juvenile was serving a sentence of confinement at an adult facility; (4) the offense was committed in an aggressive, violent, and willful manner; (5) the charge involves allegations that the accused is a leader of a narcotics trafficking network, distribution of CDS or maintaining a CDS production facility; (6) the juvenile is charged with auto theft; (7) the offense involves possession of a firearm with a purpose to use it unlawfully against the person of another or the crime of aggravated assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, burglary or escape if, while in the course of committing attempting to commit the crime or the immediate flight, the juvenile possessed a firearm; or (8) the violation involves commission of computer criminal activity which would be a crime of the first or second degree.

In determining whether to file a motion to waive the child to adult court, the NJ Waiver Guidelines require that prosecutor consider whether death was sustained, the nature juvenile’s conduct, their role in the commission of the offense, the severity of the injuries sustained by the victim, the prior record of the accused, whether there was a weapon used to commit the crime and the likelihood of a conviction.

The burden is on the prosecutor to establish that the nature and circumstances of the charge and the juvenile’s prior record are such that the interests of the public require waiver. If there is a probability that the minor can be fully rehabilitated before reaching 19 years of age, however, the court should not waive the juvenile to adult court.

Probable cause is a well grounded suspicion or belief that the offense has been committed and that the accused was involved. In determining whether this showing has been established, the court may consider hearsay evidence.  may be relied upon to determine probable cause.

Prosecutorial Discretion of Juveniles Who Are 16 or Older. If a child is 16 years of age or older and there is probable cause to believe he/she has committed an offense set forth in (1), (5), (7) or (8) above, all that the prosecutor needs to make a motion to waive. Nothing additional needs to exist in order for waiver to occur for the juvenile to be transferred to the Criminal Division immediately.

Referral at Election of Juvenile

A juvenile who is 14 years of age or older may elect to have his/her case transferred and waived to the criminal part. The same holds true to a child under 14 years old if they are competent to make the election and are charged with murder. The decision to voluntarily transfer the case must be knowing, willing, voluntary and with consultation with competent counsel.

New Jersey Juvenile Waiver Defense Lawyer

If your child is facing a juvenile waiver or case in Hudson County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Morris County or elsewhere, a juvenile defense lawyer on our staff is ready to assist you. Our team of attorneys are highly skilled in all phases and varieties of juvenile case with over a century of experience. To speak to a lawyer at the firm immediately, call 877-450-8301.