NJ Juvenile Rights | Update – Miranda Applies

NJ Juvenile Rights

NJ Supreme Court issues "appropriate Procedure" in Juvenile Cases

New Jersey juvenile rights are much better than the protections offered by the Federal Constitution.

The law in NJ states: “wherever possible … no child should be interviewed except in the presence of his parents or guardian”.

More specifically, “the product of interrogation of a juvenile under 14 is not admissible in the absence of a parent or legal guardian “unless the adult was unwilling to be present or truly unavailable.” State v Presha, 163 NJ 304,  2000.

What was decided?

In a recent decision, NJ juvenile rights have received more clarity and more protections.

In State in the Interest of A.A.  the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a policy for how police handle juvenile interrogations.

Specifically, the Court wrote: ““The police should advise juveniles in the custody of their Miranda rights—in the presence of a parent or legal guardian—before the police question, or a parent speaks with, the juvenile. Officers should then give parents or guardians a meaningful opportunity to consult with the juvenile in private about those rights… That approach would enable parents to help children understand their rights and decide whether to waive them… If law enforcement officers do not allow a parent and juvenile to consult in private, absent a compelling reason, that fact should weigh heavily in the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the juvenile’s waiver and statements were voluntary.””

The Court has taken bold steps in making certain that NJ juvenile rights are clear to law enforcement.

Facts of the case

A.A. was 15 years old when the police detained him on murder charges.

His mother went to visit him in the police station holding cell. The only thing she was told was that her son “shot someone.”

Five police officers were in the room within 10 to 15 feet of A.A. and his mother while the two spoke.

A detective testified that he overheard the conversation and that the mother began to cry and left the room.

A.A. never received his Miranda.

The Family Part judge admitted the statements upon finding there was no “police interrogation or its functional equivalent,” and therefore no Miranda warnings were required.

In concluding that the juvenile’s statements were both inadmissible and were not harmless at the juvenile’s hearing, the Supreme Court repeated prior holdings that interrogation includes not only direct questioning but also “any words or actions on the part of the police … that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response,” and in the case of a juvenile, that an admission “must be voluntary, in the sense not only that it was not coerced or suggested, but also that it was not the product of ignorance of rights or of adolescent fantasy, fright or despair.”

New Jersey Supreme Court's Conclusion

In closing, the New Jersey Supreme Court wrote:

We can envision nothing more appropriate or fair in the administration of juvenile justice. Independent of the right to counsel, a juvenile is entitled to meaningful support and assistance from a caring parent or guardian before saying anything to a police officer, as well as anything that can be heard or overheard, while in custody.

important tip: Be Patient! You will Get Your Day in Court

Any juvenile lawyer will tell you that when you talk to a police officer, everything you say can & will be used against you.
Do not try to explain your story to a police officer. There is always time for that.
If you make a mistake while you are telling your story to a police officer, this becomes evidence against you.

As criminal lawyers, we are here to help you.

Please visit the Areas We Serve & Practice Areas pages for more information.

How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

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You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

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Below you will find some but not all of our practice areas. Of course, if you do not see your criminal charges listed, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. We will meet with you to discuss your case & to answer all of your legal concerns. Se habla español tambien!

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There are plenty of excellent criminal lawyers in the Hackensack area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

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