Waiver of counsel, 2014

A juvenile may waive his or her right to counsel only in the present of and after consultation with counsel, and the parent must be afforded the opportunity to consult with the juvenile and the juvenile's counsel regarding this decision. The court must also determine that waiver is made knowingly, willingly, and voluntarily.

  • Restrictions on waivers
  • No restrictions
  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.
  • Age

    No restrictions

  • Crime

    No restrictions

  • Hearing

    No restrictions

  • Placement

    Juveniles cannot waive right to counsel if possibility of specified placement(s).

Timing of counsel, 2013

The New Jersey Code of Juvenile Justice entitles youth to counsel at every critical stage of the proceeding.  This type of statutory language is common among state juvenile justice codes.  However, New Jersey is notable for state appellate court caselaw that defines the filing of a complaint by the Prosecutor’s Office followed by a judicially approved arrest warrant as a critical stage in the proceedings for which youth/families that cannot afford counsel have an unwaiveable right to consult with a public defender (State in the Interest of PMP, 975 A.2d 441 (2009)). A subsequent 2011 state Superior Court case held that the new rule would only be applied prospectively (as opposed to retrospectively).

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Indigency requirements, 2013

Organized at the state level

Organizer: Office of the Public Defender (Additional detail concerning the organization and administration of juvenile defense is available in a state profile from the National Juvenile Defender Center.)

Indigency is not determined legislatively

New Jersey indigency law for juveniles is governed by both juvenile and adult statutes, which provide a determination of indigency. Indigency is judicially determined.

  • Reflects laws as of the end of 2013 legislative sessions.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

No statewide restriction

Sex offender registration, 2015


Competency, 2015

New Jersey juvenile statute applies most rights guaranteed to (adult) criminal defendants to delinquency. A juvenile found to lack mental capacity may not waive any right, and a guardian ad litem (who must work in the child’s best interest) is appointed to consult with the juvenile and juvenile’s counsel (who works for the child’s wishes). New Jersey’s (adult) code of criminal justice aligns with the Dusky standard, stating: no person who lacks capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his own defense shall be tried [convicted or sentenced] for the commission of an offense so long as such incapacity endures.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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