Cape May, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being charged with a crime is always a stressful and frightening experience. As a defendant or the loved one of a defendant, your mind is probably racing with questions about what you can expect in the days to come. It is completely natural to feel scared, confused, and overwhelmed as you and your loved ones confront this legal challenge – but you don’t have to face the situation alone.
At the New Jersey Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers have over 45 years of combined experience representing clients facing misdemeanor and felony charges throughout Cape May County, including but not limited to Ocean City, Dennis Township, Wildwood, Woodbine, Sea Isle City, Avalon, and Stone Harbor. Our legal team will counsel and guide you through each and every stage of the legal process, and will fight vigorously to protect your rights and liberties.
For a free and private consultation, call our Cape May criminal defense attorneys any time of day or evening. You will not be charged any fees, and we will keep your information confidential. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today at (609) 616-4956.
Should You Talk to the Police After Being Arrested in Cape May?
Whether it is a good idea to talk to the police after being arrested is a very tricky question to answer. The police are very intimidating, and many arrested people feel compelled to speak even if they do not want to. However, always remember that you do not have to talk to the police. It is wise to wait until you have an attorney present before answering any questions from the police.
After you are arrested, the police must read you your Miranda rights. Anyone who has seen a cop show or movie has probably heard these rights before. Your Miranda rights include your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present while the police question you. You will also be informed that anything you say to the police can be used against you.
After you have been read your rights, you should invoke your rights to remain silent and have a lawyer by your side. When you invoke these rights, you must be very clear. Saying something like, “I think I might need an attorney,” will not trigger your right to a lawyer. Instead, try saying, “I want a lawyer right away.” The same goes for your right to remain silent; you must say in no uncertain terms that you will not answer any questions until you have a lawyer present.
Your lawyer, once present, can help you answer police questions in a way that is less incriminating and protects your rights. This may mean having a lengthy conversation with the police. It could also mean answering no questions whatsoever. Your attorney will help you decide the best course of action.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed to you free of charge. However, we recommend calling our Cape May criminal defense lawyers. Our legal team has the skills and experience necessary to fight your charges and protect you in your time of need.
Will Getting a Lawyer Increase Your Chances of Getting the Charges Dismissed in Cape May?
Dealing with any criminal charges is a challenging experience. Even trained attorneys may have a hard time handling a particular case. You are not legally required to be represented by a lawyer and you may choose to represent yourself instead. However, hiring a lawyer with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate a trial will increase your chances of getting your charges dismissed.
Not every case ends in a verdict of guilty or not guilty. In fact, most cases do not make it to a trial at all. Instead, many cases are resolved during pre-trial stages or through plea bargaining. Getting your charges dismissed takes effective legal strategy and know-how. Having a lawyer by your side will help you get your charges dismissed or reduced. Our Cape May criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your charges to the best of their ability.
Can You Challenge the Circumstances Surrounding Your Arrest in Cape May?
There are many different ways in which a defendant may challenge the case against them. One such way is to challenge the circumstances surrounding your arrest. Arrests are performed by authorized law enforcement and must follow strict legal procedures to be valid. An invalid arrest could be grounds to invalidate evidence and information seized under that arrest.
First, the police may only arrest you under specific conditions. The police usually need an arrest warrant before taking someone into custody. The arrest warrant is issued by an impartial judge or magistrate and must be based on probable cause that the person being arrested has likely committed a crime. Once the police have a valid warrant in hand, they may arrest you right away. Arrests executed under faulty or invalid warrants may provide grounds to challenge the arrest.
The police can sometimes arrest people without a warrant, but only under specific circumstances. Usually, a warrant is unnecessary if the police witness the crime as it happens or see a suspect flee a crime scene. Arrests in such cases do not need warrants because the suspect could flee and never be found in the time it takes for police to obtain a warrant. Suspects may also be armed or dangerous and need to be apprehended immediately out of concern for public safety. However, an arrest without a warrant that does not meet the above criteria will be invalid.
If you believe your arrest was invalid or occurred under shady circumstances, please call our Cape May criminal defense lawyers. We can review the details of your arrest and determine if your arrest can be challenged.
Can You Challenge the Circumstances Surrounding a Search in Cape May?
Searches, much like arrests, must often be made under a warrant. However, also like arrests, some searches may be conducted without a warrant. Challenging a search may be crucial to your case because searches are often significant sources of incriminating evidence that will be used against you at your trial.
Search warrants must also be based on probable cause. The police need probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime will be found at the location they wish to search. This location is often the defendant’s home or place of work. However, search warrants are very specific and must identify the exact location to be searched and the evidence being sought. If a search warrant allows the police to search inside your home but makes no mention of the shed in your back yard, the police may not also search that shed.
The police may sometimes conduct warrantless searches. For example, no warrant is necessary if the evidence is out in the open. However, the officer who seizes the evidence must be present lawfully. The police cannot enter your home without permission and seize evidence because it was out in the open on your dining room table. They must first have gained entrance to your home in a lawful manner, such as by consent of an occupant. Other warrantless searches include searches incident to lawful arrests, certain vehicle searches, and searches with your consent.
Our Cape May criminal defense attorneys can help you identify illegally obtained evidence and prevent it from being used against you at trial.
Can You Challenge Evidence Against You in Cape May?
Challenging the evidence against you is another great way to mount a defense against your criminal charges. Evidence may be real, physical evidence, like drugs, weapons, clothing, or bodily fluids. Evidence may also be non-physical, like testimony or documented records. The nature of the evidence in your case will determine the best way to challenge that evidence.
Evidence can be challenged by questioning the methods used to gather it. The police seize most evidence either under a search warrant or in a way that does not require a warrant. If the procedures used to gather evidence were unlawful or violated your rights, we may challenge that evidence and prevent it from being heard in court.
Challenging the evidence often requires filing a suppression motion. This motion is like a request to the court to keep out specific evidence or suppress it because it was gathered unlawfully. Evidence can also be suppressed because it is unfairly prejudicial or is simply irrelevant. Contact our Cape May criminal defense attorneys to discuss how we can suppress the evidence in your case.
Charges Our Cape May Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Handle
Our legal team has decades of experience handling a wide variety of criminal matters on behalf of adult and juvenile clients in the Cape May area. Whether you are being charged with a crime for the first time or wish to fight an existing sentence or conviction by going through the criminal appeals process, we are ready to provide aggressive and strategic legal support. No matter how complex or serious the allegations against you may be, we are prepared to investigate the evidence and advocate for justice on your behalf.
Our experienced Cape May criminal attorneys handle both state and federal crimes, including but not limited to the following matters:
We handle narcotics charges arising from a broad spectrum of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), including but not limited to marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy, ketamine, psilocybin mushrooms, and prescription drugs such as OxyContin (Oxycodone) and Xanax (Alprazolam).
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID)
- Simple Possession
DUI and DWI
If you were charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or were cited for DUI-related offenses such as refusing a breathalyzer test, contact our Cape May criminal defense lawyers.
- Breathalyzer Refusal
- DUI with Controlled Substances
- DUI with Injury
- DUI with Property Damage
- High BAC
Our Cape May defense attorneys have successfully represented clients that have been charged with sexual offenses such as sexual assault, rape, child pornography possession, and more.
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Child Pornography Charges
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Luring or Enticing a Child
We can help you or a loved one avoid penalties for theft charges like burglary, shoplifting, and more.
- Carjacking (Automotive Theft)
- Retail Theft (Shoplifting)
- Tax Fraud
Do not face violent crime charges on your own. Our Cape May criminal attorneys can work to get your charges lowered or dismissed so that you can protect your future. We represent defendants charged with any of the following in Cape May:
- Aggravated Assault
- Assault by Auto
- Domestic Violence Charges
- Simple Assault
Fighting for your right to bear arms is a case our criminal defense attorneys don’t back down from. If you or a loved one was charged with illegal gun possession or unlawful firing of a weapon, contact us today.
- Gun Possession
- Theft of Firearms
- Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm
- Unlawful Possession of Weapons
Criminal Penalties, Fines, and Sentences for Cape May Crimes
Most jurisdictions refer to criminal offenses as misdemeanors and felonies. However, New Jersey uses slightly different terminology. Misdemeanor-level crimes are referred to as “disorderly persons (DP) offenses” or “petty disorderly persons offenses,” while serious felonies are known as “indictable crimes.”
While the language may be different, the consequences of a conviction are the same: costly fines and restitution, lengthy jail or prison sentences, and the creation of a lasting criminal record which will remain accessible to potential employers, landlords, and lenders unless the offender is able to seal the record by obtaining an expungement. Furthermore, certain persons may be subject to offense-specific penalties. For example, a defendant convicted of DUI may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their personal vehicle, while a defendant convicted of sex crimes may be required to register as a sex offender.
Some offenses have the potential to be categorized in different ways depending on the presence of aggravating or mitigating factors. Factors which can influence offense grading include the degree of injury to the victim, the use or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, the age of the victim, the defendant’s record of prior offenses, and whether a child was present during the commission of the alleged offense. For example, aggravated assault has the potential to be categorized as an indictable crime of the second, third, or fourth degree in accordance with N.J.S.A. § 2C:12-1.
Our Cape May Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help if You Were Arrested
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Cape May, or if one of your loved ones was arrested in Southern New Jersey, the penalties can be severe. You could lose your career, your hard-earned reputation, and even your freedom itself. Our Cape May criminal defense attorneys are here to help. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 today to schedule your free legal consultation.