Facing criminal charges can be one of the scariest and most disorienting experiences that a person can go through. Especially if you have never before dealt with the criminal justice system, you may feel frozen in place, like there is nothing you can do to help yourself. When you are told that you will soon face something called an arraignment, you may have no idea what this mean or how it works. However, there are concrete steps you can take at this time to protect yourself and your freedom.
The first and most important step you should take is reaching out to a seasoned Avalon, NJ attorney for a criminal arraignment like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. From your arraignment and bail hearing, to plea negotiations, all the way to a trial if one is necessary, our attorneys will be there with you every step of the way, fighting to bring your case to the best possible resolution. Call our office at (609) 445-3533 today to set up a free consultation.
Criminal Arraignments in Avalon, NJ
An arraignment, despite its fancy, complicated-sounding name, is actually a rather simple proceeding. It is essentially the beginning of the formal part of your case, where the judge will read the charges against you, advise you of your rights, including the right to counsel, and ask you to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. It is important to have a lawyer for this event, as your attorney is likely to advise you to enter an initial plea of not guilty while they collect more evidence and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case. A not guilty plea can easily be changed later to a guilty plea if we reach a satisfactory plea deal.
When Does an Avalon, NJ Criminal Arraignment Take Place?
The timing of the criminal arraignment will vary based on whether or not you were arrested and whether you were charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense. If you are simply issued a citation and not arrested, which occurs mostly for minor crimes and municipal violations, there will be an arraignment date on the citation or in a summons you receive in the mail shortly thereafter. The arraignment will usually be scheduled within a few weeks to a month. This gives you a chance to retain an experienced Avalaon, NJ attorney for a criminal arraignment such as those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, and we can reach out to the prosecutor to try to work out a deal to have the entire matter resolved on the arraignment date.
In most cases where the police suspect you of committing a crime, you will be arrested, either on the spot if the officers have probable cause or after an investigation and an application for an arrest warrant from a judge. If you were arrested, the timing of your arraignment will depend on whether you are charged with a disorderly persons offense, New Jersey’s equivalent of what other states call misdemeanors, or an indictable offense, New Jersey’s equivalent of what other states call felonies.
For disorderly persons offenses, the arraignment will occur shortly after your arrest, at or around the same time as your bail hearing, which usually is held within 48 hours of your arrest at most. You or a loved one should work quickly after you have been arrested to retain an experienced arraignment and bail hearing attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych so that we can be there to represent you at these important events. If you are charged with an indictable offense, you will still need to hire a lawyer quickly to represent you at your bail hearing, where a decision will be made about whether or not you can be released. However, your arraignment will not occur until later, after the prosecutor has presented their case to the grand jury and an indictment has been issued.
What Can a Lawyer Do for Me After My Arraignment?
Once we have gotten your plea entered at the arraignment and gotten you released from custody, we can focus on working to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For minor crimes and those with a clean criminal record, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to let you into what is known as a pre-trial diversion program. If you successfully complete this program, which can contain such components as mandatory counseling, community service, and staying out of further trouble with the law, then your charges will be dropped and you will not have a criminal conviction on your record.
If pre-trial diversion is not a possibility in your case, we can work with the prosecutor to reach a plea agreement, where you plead guilty and save the state the time and cost of trial. In exchange, the prosecutor might downgrade your charge to something less serious or make a lenient sentencing recommendation to the judge, which is almost always honored. Of course, if you do not wish to take a plea deal, our skilled Avalon, NJ trial lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are ready to prepare the best possible defense and fight for a not guilty verdict at trial.
Call Our Experienced Avalon, NJ Attorneys for a Criminal Arraignment Today
Unfortunately, your criminal arraignment will usually be just the start of what can be a long and arduous journey through the criminal justice system. The best way to help yourself get through this system with as little damage as possible is to reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our skilled Avalon, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment will be by your side for the entire case, from the arraignment all the way to the end. We will work hard at every stage to have your side of the story told, get your charges downgraded or dismissed, and keep your future looking bright. To set up a free consultation, contact our office today at (609) 445-3533.