Being arrested can be a terrifying experience, and it can leave you feeling helpless as you are forced into a criminal justice system you may know nothing about. After you have been arrested, you may have no idea what is coming next or what steps you and your loved ones can and should take to protect your rights and liberty. When you hear people tossing out words like arraignment, you may not know what they mean by this.
You need to take quick and decisive action to retain an experienced attorney who can help you through this process from start to finish. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our Atlantic County, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment have years of experienced successfully representing clients on all types of charges across the county. From arrest to arraignment and far beyond, our team will be there with you every step of the way to advise you on best steps, answer any questions you may have, and fight for your innocence. For a free consultation, call our office today at (609) 616-4956.
The Pre-Arraignment Process in Atlantic County, NJ
For minor level crimes like infractions, the police officer will likely just issue you a ticket or summons with a court date on it for your arraignment. In most cases, however, you will be placed under arrest. If an officer personally witnesses you commit a crime or otherwise has probable cause to believe you committed it, they can arrest you on the spot without a warrant. Usually, there will be some sort of investigation by the police, and they will apply for an arrest warrant when the believe they have enough evidence on you. If the warrant is granted, the police will seek you out for arrest.
After you are arrested, you will be taken to the local police station for what is known as booking. During the booking process, the police will collect your biographical information and fingerprint and photograph you for their records. After this, you will remain in the holding cell or be transferred to the local jail until your bail hearing is held, usually within 48 hours of booking.
The Criminal Arraignment Process in Atlantic County, NJ
The arraignment itself is typically a very brief proceeding where the judge officially reads the charges against you and you enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. In disorderly persons offenses, New Jersey’s version of misdemeanors, it is the first court event of your case, typically occurring in conjunction with the bail hearing. For indictable offenses, the arraignment will occur later. If you arrested and released on an infraction, you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon after your arrest as possible, as we can try to reach out to the prosecutor and work out a deal where your case can be resolved on the same day as your arraignment.
In disorderly persons cases, a skilled lawyer is likely to advise you to plead not guilty at your arraignment, as they typically will not yet have had a chance to review the evidence and assess the case against you. We can then work on your bail hearing, where the judge will decide if you can be released or if you will have to stay detained in jail until your case is resolved. Since New Jersey virtually eliminated cash bail in 2017, the judge will decide this based on a series of holistic factors, including the nature and severity of the alleged crime, any potential flight risk, your ties to the community, and any criminal record you have. We will work to get the judge to let you go home without any cumbersome conditions attached to your release.
In an indictable offense case, after the bail hearing the prosecutor will take the case before the grand jury, who will determine based on the evidence presented whether there is enough there for the case to go forward. If they decide there is, they will issue an indictment. Once an indictment has been issued, you will be arraigned in the superior court.
The Post-Arraignment Process in Atlantic County, NJ
After the arraignment, your lawyer is likely to begin negotiations with the prosecutor about a potential plea deal if this is something that you may be interested in. If you have no prior criminal record, we can try to get the prosecutor to let you into a pre-trial intervention program. If you complete this program successfully, the charges against you will be dismissed and you will not have a criminal record. If pre-trial intervention is not a possibility in your case, we can work to strike a deal where your charge is downgraded or you plead guilty in exchange for a lenient sentence recommendation.
For those that do not wish to take a deal or are not satisfied with the deal offered, the skilled trial lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are always ready and able to fight for our clients’ innocence at trial. We will mount an aggressive defense to achieve a not guilty verdict. You should be aware, however, that only those charged with indictable offenses have the right to a jury trial. Those charged with disorderly person offenses will have a trial before a judge in the municipal court, and the judge alone will decide the verdict.
Call Our Experienced Atlantic County, NJ Attorneys for a Criminal Arraignment Today
Being charged with a crime, even a relatively low-level one, can lead to not only serious penalties like fines and jail time, but also the lifelong ramifications that come with having a criminal record. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our compassionate Atlantic County, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment will be there to guide you through every step of this complex process and answer any questions you may have. We will advocate for you passionately inside and outside the courtroom and fight to bring your case to a satisfying conclusion. Call us today at (609) 616-4956 for a free consultation.