Especially for those who have never before dealt with the police or courts in a serious way, being arrested, and the events that follow it, can come as a real shock to the system. You may feel scared, helpless, and alone in the immediate aftermath, and unsure of what steps you need to take to protect yourself and your rights. However, because the detention hearing, where a decision about whether you can be released from jail or must remain behind bars until the underlying charges against you are resolved, occurs so quickly after your arrest, you have no time to waste in making very important decisions, including hiring an attorney.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our skilled Atlantic County pretrial detention hearing lawyers have years of experience working with clients throughout the state to get them successfully released at this hearing with minimal or no conditions. We will leave no stone unturned working to get you out of detention as quickly and painlessly as possible. Then, we can focus our attentions on getting the charges against your dropped or downgraded. Call us today at (609) 616-4956 for a free consultation.
When a Detention Hearing Occurs in an Atlantic County Criminal Case
In some cases involving minor charges, the police may release you after writing you a citation, in which instance a detention hearing will not be a part of your case. If you are arrested in Atlantic County, however, you will be taken to the police station for the booking process, which involves fingerprinting and photographing you and gathering your biographical information. While the police may choose to release you on your own recognizance after booking in some instances, the large majority of the time you will be escorted to the station’s holding cell or transported to a jail facility and held there until your detention hearing occurs, usually no more than 48 hours after your arrest, and often much sooner.
As such, it is vital that the first thing you do after your booking, or before if possible, is to make sure that you or a loved one contact a skilled Atlantic County detention hearing attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. We will need to get to work right away on assessing your case and other relevant information about you in order to be prepared to make the best possible argument at the detention hearing for your release.
What Happens at an Atlantic County Detention Hearing?
In 2017, New Jersey passed a reform bill that virtually eliminated the use of cash bail in the state’s court system. Prior to this, most people could only get out of jail if they could afford to put up the amount of money set by the judge at what was then known as a bail hearing. Now, cash bail is never set except in rare cases involving very serious charges and extraordinary circumstances. Instead, the judge decides whether and how you can be released from jail while your case moves through the system based on a series of holistic factors, including your criminal history, any flight risk you present, your ties and contributions to your local community, and severity of the charge against you.
Our skilled Atlantic County attorneys for a detention hearing have been through many of these hearings and understand which factors are most likely to motivate judges to release you. While judges will typically only detain for the duration of the case those individuals charged with serious, usually violent, crimes who may present a danger to society, they often impose onerous non-monetary conditions on those to whom they grant release. This can include such things as GPS ankle monitoring, having to check in with court officers, or attending mandatory drug or alcohol counseling programs. We will work to convince the judge to release you with no or minimal conditions so that there are as few disruptions as possible to your daily life during this already-trying time.
Atlantic County Detention Hearings and the Events After
If the judge chooses to hold you in jail, we can file a motion for reconsideration, and we will have time to prepare a more detailed argument for your release if a second hearing is granted. If you are released, we will turn our attention to the arraignment, if it has yet to occur. In disorderly persons cases, the arraignment occurs at your initial appearance, at or about the same time as your detention hearing. In indictable offense cases, the arraignment will not come until later, after your detention hearing and after a grand jury has returned an indictment against you. Either way, our knowledgeable Atlantic County pretrial detention lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are likely to advise you to plead not guilty initially so we can have time to request all the evidence needed in order to make a full assessment of the prosecutor’s case against you, and to file any necessary motions, such as a motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search.
Following this, we can try to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor if this is something that interests you. Plea deals could include enrolling you in a pre-trial intervention program, where your charges will be dropped if you complete the program successfully, or the prosecutor agreeing to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge. In some cases, we may be able to get the prosecutor to downgrade your charges to something less serious in exchange for you entering a guilty plea and saving the state the time and cost of putting on a trial. If you do not wish to take a deal, our battle-tested trial lawyers are always read to fight for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom.
Call Our Knowledgeable Atlantic County Lawyers for a Detention Hearing Today
The detention hearing is a very important step in your case that occurs very quickly after your arrest. This is why it is vital to keep your head on straight and act immediately to take the steps necessary to protect your rights and get yourself out of jail. The most important thing you can do to give yourself the best chance of getting released on minimal to no conditions is to contact a skilled Atlantic County attorney for a detention hearing and Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away. For a free consultation, call our firm at (609) 616-4956 today.