Dealing with false DYFS allegations in New Jersey
Most people that call us about DYFS / DCPP matters in New Jersey are very upset that DYFS is bothering them about false allegations. What most people don’t understand is that their innocence is irrelevant. Many innocent people have lost their children because they didn’t handle the case the right way. Likewise, many innocent people are sitting in prison right now because they didn’t have quality legal representation. Just look at the Innocence Project and how many people have been freed by DNA evidence. Just imagine how many more people are in the same situation but cannot be helped since DNA is not a factor in their case?
Another way to look at is would you want your lawyer to put in less than full effort because you are in fact guilty? Of course not. We get paid to do a job and we don’t judge our clients. Thus, guilt or innocence in and of itself is not the key issue in the case. The issue is evidence. You could be the most innocent person in the world but if you can’t deal with the evidence against you, you will likely lose your case. The converse is also true. If you are the most guilty person in the world and the State does not have enough evidence to prove it, you will likely win your case.
Whenever I tell someone this, the response is often the same: well they don’t have any evidence against me. Is that possible? Sure. Is that likely? Almost never. Your idea of what evidence is and DYFS’ idea of what evidence is are two different things. If they are bringing a case against you, they likely have evidence against you no matter how false or flimsy it may be. It doesn’t mean that you will lose your case but it also doesn’t mean that it will go away instantly. We have shut down many cases very quickly but the vast majority of all DYFS cases take at least six months to handle with a good portion of those taking up to twelve months.
Finally, there is a difference between evidence of guilt and evidence of personal issues that require services. We have been very successful in getting the abuse and neglect charges dismissed but even in that case, the Court can keep the case open for services under Title 30. Usually, the case can get shut down shortly after that. Thus, don’t get too concerned or emotional about guilt vs. innocence.. Let your lawyer handle the case for what it is and trust that he or she will shut it down as soon as possible regardless of how guilty or innocent you may be.