Atlantic County Criminal Defense Lawyer
Every year people are charged with various crimes and criminal offenses in Atlantic County and the rest of New Jersey. The criminal justice system can be confusing even for people familiar with the ins and outs of the legal system. A complicated system combined with potentially harsh penalties can put a lot of pressure on any defendant. However, you must always remember that you have a right to defend yourself in court. An experienced lawyer can help you protect your rights and fight the charges or accusations against you.
A qualified lawyer can mean the difference between going home to see your family and seeing your family from behind bars. Our Atlantic County criminal defense lawyers will work with you to provide you with the best defense possible for your case. Reach out to the Law Offices of John J. Zarych online or by calling (609) 616-4956. Talk to our legal team about a confidential and free legal consultation.
What Happens If You Are Arrested for a Crime in Atlantic County
Being arrested in Atlantic County may happen differently depending upon your circumstances. In some cases, a defendant is arrested by the police on-sight with no warrant. This kind of arrest typically happens very shortly after the crime was committed. Police usually see the defendant commit the crime or witness the defendant attempting to flee the scene. Police can arrest you on sight this way if they have probable cause to connect you to the crime and believe you to be dangerous. These are situations where it would be unwise to wait for an arrest warrant because the suspect could be long gone and hurt someone else.
You could also be arrested sometime after the crime was committed under an arrest warrant. Police do not always have a suspect right away and a criminal investigation is required to uncover evidence and find any people of interest. If the police believe you are responsible for the crime and have sufficient evidence and probable cause showing such, they can request an arrest warrant from a judge or magistrate. Once they have the warrant, they can show up at your home, work, or anywhere else to arrest you.
If your arrest is unlawful or unsupported by probable cause and evidence, you may be able to challenge the arrest and the underlying criminal charges. Contact our Atlantic County criminal defense attorneys for more information.
Common Criminal Charges and Penalties in Atlantic County
Criminal charges in Atlantic County are divided into two broad categories of offenses. You can be charged with a disorderly persons offense or a crime. Crimes tend to be more serious offenses and carry harsher punishments.
A crime is an offense that can be punished by incarceration of potentially more than a year. Crimes are subdivided into crimes of the fourth, third, second, and first degree. Crimes of the first degree are extremely serious and carry very long prison sentences of at least 10 years but less than 20 years. Second-degree crimes carry penalties of a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 10 years in prison. Third-degree crimes carry penalties of at least 3 years but not more than 10 years. Fourth-degree crimes are the least serious and may be penalized by a maximum prison term of 18 months.
Lesser charges are referred to as disorderly persons offenses. Such offenses are generally minor violations that are more often punished by fines rather than a prison term. Although, some disorderly persons offenses can be penalized by a prison term of up to 6 months. Regardless of the charges you face, you should reach out to our Atlantic County criminal defense lawyers for assistance.
Fighting Charges with an Atlantic County Criminal Defense Attorney
There are many different ways you can fight your criminal charges. One option is going to trial. A defendant facing charges involving crimes in Atlantic County is guaranteed a jury trial if they so choose. However, defendants dealing with disorderly persons offenses do not have such a right as their charges are technically not crimes under New Jersey law. At trial, we can present evidence demonstrating that you are not guilty, and hopefully, we can get an acquittal.
Another approach would be to acknowledge that you did in fact commit the crime; however, your actions were a result of circumstances that absolve you of responsibility. For example, self-defense or duress are defenses in which you admit you committed the crime, but you may have had no other choice.
It is important to keep track of the police investigation into your case and the actions of law enforcement and the prosecutor. If they do something to break the rules or infringe on your rights, we can use that as a defense. Invalid warrants and constitutional violations, for example, can strengthen our case or even result in your charges being dismissed. Our skilled Atlantic County criminal defense lawyers can analyze your case and determine what defense strategy will be the most effective.
How Can I Avoid a Criminal Trial in Atlantic County?
Not every case will end in a trial. Sometimes, law enforcement realizes their investigation led to the wrong suspect and they may simply drop your charges. However, this is not typical and happens more often on TV than in real life. More commonly, defendants avoid trial by accepting a plea deal from prosecutors.
A plea deal, sometimes called a plea bargain or a plea agreement, is an offer from the prosecutor to reduce the defendant’s charges in exchange for a guilty plea. This way, both parties avoid a costly and time-consuming trial, the prosecution secures a conviction, and the defendant serves a smaller sentence. Plea agreements are not required and may be negotiated. Our Atlantic County criminal defense lawyers can help you fight your charges at trial or negotiate the best plea deal for your case.
Call Our Atlantic County Criminal Defense Attorney for a Free and Confidential Consultation
Criminal charges of any kind must be taken very seriously. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, contact our Atlantic County criminal defense attorneys for help. Our experienced legal team can help you navigate the criminal justice system while fighting to protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 to speak to our team about a free and confidential consultation.