Defense structure, 2017

  • Organization


  • Oversight

    No oversight

New Jersey provides counsel to indigent youth through regional public defender offices coordinated and directed by a statewide Office of the Public Defender. Visit the National Juvenile Defender Center's New Jersey state profile for more details.

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 unwaivable 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

Indigency determination: Judicially

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

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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