Having a loved one arrested anywhere can be a terrifying and uncertain experience, but it can be especially concerning if the arrest happens when your loved one is out of the area for a trip, as in the case of many travelers to Atlantic City. After getting a call from your wife that she has been arrested in Atlantic City, you may not know what the best steps to take are to secure her rights and liberty. Even if you know you should get her a lawyer, you may be confused about whether you can pay for a lawyer for someone else. Below, our experienced Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych explain how to engage a lawyer for your wife and what we can do to help get her out of jail and resolve her case.
Paying for Someone Else’s Criminal Defense Lawyer in Atlantic City
For those unfamiliar with the criminal justice system, you may be confused about whether you are legally permitted to pay for a lawyer to represent your wife in her case. You are permitted to do this, as anyone in New Jersey is permitted to retain and pay for a lawyer for anyone else. However, your wife still has attorney-client privilege in any conversations she has with the attorney. Just because you are paying does not mean you are entitled to know what is discussed between her and her attorney in private conversations unless she chooses to waive the privilege.
How to Bail Out Your Wife in Atlantic City
After your wife is arrested, she will likely be taken to the local police station for what is known as the booking process. During this process she will be fingerprinted and photographed, the police will collect her biographical information, and any items she had on her at the time of arrest will be inventoried until she is released. The police may also try to interrogate or interview her, but she should never speak to them until she has an attorney present with her. She always has the rights to remain silent and request an attorneys and she should exercise both of those rights.
With 72 hours of your wife being booked and detained, there will be a bail hearing in front of a judge. However, cash bail was virtually eliminated in the state of New Jersey with the passage of a 2017 law. Now, the judge makes decisions on who can be releases not based on whether someone can pay a certain amount but on a balancing test that considers a series of factors.
Factors in the balancing test include your wife’s ties to the community through family and employment, whether she has any prior criminal convictions, the nature and the severity of the crime she is alleged to have committed and whether this could make her a danger to the public, and any flight risk she may pose if released. The judge will decide to detain your wife until the underlying matter is resolved, to release her with conditions such as staying out of further trouble, or to release her on her own recognizance with no condition but to show up for her court dates. An experienced Atlantic City bail hearing defense attorney like those at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych will know how to make the best arguments to get your wife released with no conditions, or as few conditions as possible.
The Criminal Case Process in Atlantic City
How your criminal case proceeds after the bail hearing will depend on the type of crime you have been charged with. More minor crimes are known as disorderly persons offenses and are handled through the municipal court system. More serious crimes are known as indictable offenses and are handled through the superior court system.
For disorderly persons offenses in Atlantic City, your wife will be arraigned in the superior court either at the same time as the bail hearing or shortly thereafter. An experienced criminal defense attorney will likely advise her to plead not guilty while they assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case and try to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor. Sometimes, for these low-level defenses, the prosecutor may agree to have your wife enter a pre-trial diversion program. If no deal can be reached, our firm can try your wife’s case. The trial in the municipal court will be before a judge rather than a jury.
For indictable offenses, the prosecutor must first take their case before a grand jury. The grand jury will review the evidence and decide whether or not there is enough there for the case to proceed. If they decide there is, an indictment will be issued and your wife will be arraigned in the superior court.
Pre-trial intervention is rarely an option in the superior court, but your lawyer can still attempt to work out a deal. Such a deal might involve your wife pleading to a lesser charge or pleading guilty in exchange for the prosecutor recommending a less serious sentence. If no deal can be worked out to your wife’s satisfaction, our experienced trial attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are ready and able to mount an aggressive defense on behalf of your wife in court. In the superior court, all trials are before a jury and the jury must return a unanimous verdict of guilty for your wife to be convicted.
If Your Wife Has Been Arrested, Call Our Atlantic City Criminal Defense Attorneys Today
It is not fun to have to deal with the aftermath of an arrest of a loved one. If your wife is arrested, it will be up to you to make sure she has proper legal counsel, as she will be detained until the time of her hearing. Acting quickly to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych is the best way to ensure your wife’s case reached the best possible resolution. For a free consultation, call us today at (609) 616-4956.