Learning that a loved one such as your husband has been arrested can be a frightening and disorienting experience. Often you are given no more than a few minutes to talk to him on the phone and, if you have no history dealing with the criminal justice system, you may have no idea what next steps to take to help get his case resolved. This can be further complicated if your husband is on vacation in Atlantic City and you are not familiar with the area. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our experienced Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers are here to help your husband achieve the best possible outcome in his case. Below, we explain the process for hiring a lawyer and what we can do for you and your husband after we have been hired.
Can I Hire a Lawyer for Someone Else in Atlantic City?
The first thing you may be wondering is whether you are permitted to hire a local criminal defense attorney in Cape May to represent your husband. The answer to this question is yes. Anyone is allowed to hire a criminal defense attorney for anyone else. However, this does not mean that you will be entitled to take part in confidential conversations between your husband and his lawyer or that you are entitled to know what they discussed. Even if you are paying, attorney-client confidentiality still applies.
How Does the Bail Process Work in Atlantic City?
After your husband is arrested, he will be taken to the police station for what is known as the booking process. During this process, the police will take his biographical information, take his photograph and fingerprints, and inventory and belongings he had on him when arrested. After this he will likely be confined to the station’s holding cell until a detention hearing, which must occur with 72 hours of detention. Sometimes, for minor crimes and infractions, the police may simply release him on his own recognizance with a notice to appear in court on a certain date for his arraignment.
In 2017, New Jersey passed a landmark law essentially doing away with cash bail. This means that who stays in jail while their case is pending and who is allowed to be released is no longer dependent on how much money a person has. Rather, a judge at the hearing makes the decision about whether or not a person can be released primarily based on whether they are a potential danger to the community or a flight risk.
Some factors taken into consideration in making this calculation include whether your husband has strong ties to the community, his employment situation, his history of failing to appear for court dates, his criminal history, and the severity of his crime. The judge also has the option of releasing your husband with conditions, such as house arrest or reporting for mandatory counseling sessions. An experienced bail hearing defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can work to convince the judge that your husband should be released with minimal or no conditions.
How a Criminal Case Plays Out in Atlantic City
Once the detention hearing has been held, the next stage of the criminal case depends on whether your husband has been charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense. The first step for a disorderly persons offense is the arraignment proceeding in the municipal court. At his arraignment, your husband will be read the charges against him and asked to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty. An experienced Atlantic City criminal defense attorney like those at our office will likely advise him to plead not guilty at this point so that they can assess the strength of the evidence and begin to negotiate with the prosecutor.
The prosecutor may be willing to offer what is knows as pre-trial intervention depending on the severity of the charges against your husband. This would involve your husband completing the requirements associated with the intervention program. If the requirements are successfully completed, your husband’s case will de dropped. If pre-trial intervention is not an option, your lawyer may try to work out a deal where you plead to a lesser charge with less severe penalties in exchange for foregoing your right to a jury trial. If you choose to take the case to trial, we are ready and willing to try your case, but note that all disorderly persons cases are tried before a single judge rather than a jury.
For an indictable offense, which refers to more serious crimes, the process works differently. The prosecutor must first obtain an indictment from the grand jury. This panel of 23 citizens will review the evidence produced by the prosecutor and decide whether there is enough there for the case to move forward. If you are indicted, you will be arraigned in the superior court.
Pre-trial intervention is usually not available for the more serious charges involved in indictable offenses. Your lawyer still may be able to work out a plea deal resulting in a far more lenient sentence, however. If no deal can be reached to your satisfaction, our attorneys will aggressively defense you at trial. You do have the right to a jury trial for an indictable offense, and the jury must be unanimous in order to convict you.
If Your Husband Has Been Arrested, Call Our Skilled Criminal Defense Team Today
No one wants to get the call from their husband telling you that he is in trouble with the law and needs your help. However, the fact that he is in custody means that it will likely be up to you to take swift and decisive action to protect his rights by obtaining competent counsel for him. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our lawyers have years of experience bringing our client’s matters to the most positive resolution. For a free consultation, call us today at (609) 616-4956.