Juvenile Arrests in New Jersey 

Juvenile Defense Lawyers in Montvale, New Jersey

Travis J. Tormey is an experienced criminal defense and drunk driving (DWI) attorney who represents clients charged with various criminal offenses throughout Bergen County, including in Palisades Interstate Park, Montvale, and Mahwah. Mr. Tormey has handled thousands of criminal cases and DWI cases in his years of practice in both Superior Court (felonies) and Municipal Court (misdemeanors). In New Jersey, juvenile offenses are handled in Superior Court by the county prosecutor’s office. Over the years, Mr. Tormey has successfully represented many juvenile defendants in criminal cases, including burglary, shoplifting, and marijuana distribution offenses. He will use this invaluable experience as well as his long-standing relationships with local prosecutors and judges to get the best possible result in your case. Contact his office anytime at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation.

“When my son was arrested for distribution of marijuana and MDMA, our world was a nightmare and we were scared. When we met Travis he reassured us that my son would be okay. When it came time for court we thought that our son was going to be on probation, or even worse, however, Travis was able to get my sons case dismissed. “Exactly what we wanted!” Thank you Travis for all your help. I would highly recommend the Tormey law firm they were excellent!”

– Former client’s mother 

New Jersey Juvenile Arrests and Complaints for Juvenile Delinquency

A juvenile is not technically arrested but rather is “taken into custody” for his or her own protection. A juvenile may be detained and charged with a complaint for delinquency stemming from any actions that would be violations of the law if committed by an adult. In order for a child to be taken into custody, probable cause to believe that an act of juvenile delinquency has taken place must exist. N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-23 defines “delinquency” as the commission of an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute: (1) a crime; (2) a disorderly persons offense; or (3) a violation of any other penal statute, ordinance, or regulation. Accordingly, a child may be taken into custody when a police officer reasonably believes that the child has broken a criminal law or regulation.

A juvenile in New Jersey is anyone under the age of 18. Of course, a complaint for juvenile delinquency does not happen in every case. In certain cases, law enforcement officers may issue a warning or what is known as a “stationhouse adjustment.” This is essentially a mediation process with the juvenile, the juvenile’s parents or guardians, and the alleged victim (if any). Many times, the police officer will require the juvenile to complete community service, pay restitution for any damage caused, write a book report on a particular subject, or write an apology letter to the alleged victim. These tactics keep the charges out of the criminal justice system and are a nice way to give the juvenile a second chance without involving the prosecutor’s office or a Superior Court judge.

Once a juvenile complaint for delinquency is signed, the complaint must be screened by the Family Intake Division in the county in which the juvenile resides. This is an important distinction from adult court. In adult court, the county in which the alleged crime was committed has jurisdiction over the offense. Conversely, in juvenile court, the county in which the juvenile resides has jurisdiction. The Family Intake Division will determine if the matter should be transferred into a diversionary program, such as the juvenile conference committee, or if the matter should be scheduled for a hearing before a Superior Court judge.

You should always remember two (2) crucial points with regard to juvenile court:

  • A juvenile is anyone under 18 years of age.
  • The standard in juvenile court is “the best interests of the child.”


Contact a Juvenile Criminal Trial Lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey

Travis J. Tormey is a highly respected negotiator and trial lawyer with offices located in Hackensack, New Jersey. Contact him anytime at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation about your child’s juvenile justice proceedings.


If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.