One of the scariest things about being arrested in Cape May, especially if this is your first time dealing with the police and the criminal justice system, is the fact you will probably have to spend at least a little time, and perhaps a long time, in a jail cell. However, you need to keep your head on straight, compose yourself, and prepare for your detention hearing, which will usually occur no more than 48 hours after your arrest and booking. This hearing, which used to be known as a bail hearing, is where a judge will make a decision about whether you can be released from jail or must remain there for the rest of your case, and what conditions you must follow if released.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our skilled Cape May detention hearing lawyers have years of experience working with clients at this hearing to get them released without bail or any cumbersome conditions. We understand the factors that the judge considers when making a pretrial release decision and will work to craft the most persuasive arguments in your favor. Then, we will turn our attention to getting the underlying charges against you downgraded or dismissed. For a free consultation, call our team at (609) 616-4956 today.
Cape May Detention Hearing and the Events Leading Up
Sometimes, for minor crimes or code violations, you will simply be issued a citation with a court date on it and allowed to go home. However, usually, when the police believe that you have committed a crime, they will place you under arrest, either on the spot if they have probable cause or after an investigation and the granting of an arrest warrant. Once you have been arrested, you will be transported to the local police station for what is known as the booking process. During booking, the police will fingerprint and photograph you and collect your biographical information. Then, you will be held in the station’s holding cell or transported to the local jail until your detention hearing can be held, within 48 hours of booking but usually sooner unless it is a weekend or a holiday.
Because the detention hearing, along with your initial appearance where you may be required to enter a plea, occurs so soon after your arrest, it is imperative that you or a loved one reach out to a skilled Cape May detention hearing attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as quickly as possible. The more time we have to get to know you, assess your case, and understand the particulars, the better chance we will have of being able to make the most successful release argument on your behalf.
How a Cape May Detention Hearing Works
Prior to 2017, New Jersey, like most states, employed a system largely centered on cash bail, where those who could afford to pay large amounts of money were far more likely to be released pre-trial. After New Jersey passed a landmark bail reform law in 2017, the system virtually did away with cash bail, except in rare circumstances for the most serious crimes and where the defendant shows a clear flight risk. Now, at the detention hearing, judges make a decision about whether or not you can be released based on a set of holistic considerations, such as your ties and contributions to the local community, your criminal record or lack thereof, your assessed flight risk, and the nature and severity of the charges against you.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our Cape May pretrial detention hearing attorneys have been through many of these hearings and understand what judges will typically find most persuasive when deciding if and how you can be released. Typically, judges will only detain people for the duration of the case who have been charged with very serious crimes and present a clear flight risk, but, in other cases, the judge will often impose non-monetary conditions on your release, such as checking in with court officer, wearing an ankle monitor, or attending drug or alcohol counseling. If you violate one of these conditions, you could end up remanded to jail and held until the underlying matter is resolved. Our lawyers will work to get you released on your own recognizance, meaning without bail or any burdensome conditions that could lead you right back to jail in little time.
What Comes After the Detention Hearing in Cape May
In disorderly persons cases, your arraignment will occur at your initial appearance, at or around the same time as your detention hearing. In indictable offense cases, the arraignment will not occur until after a grand jury has returned an indictment against you. In either case, our skilled attorneys for a criminal arraignment are likely to advise you to enter an initial plea of not guilty while we request the prosecutor’s evidence and assess the strength of the case against you.
After this, we will try in earnest to work out a deal with the prosecutor to get the charges downgraded or dismissed. Potential deals could include a pre-trial intervention program in Cape May, which results in your charges being dropped if completed successfully, a deal for the prosecutor to downgrade your charges to something less serious, or the prosecutor agreeing to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge. Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal, our skilled trial attorneys are ready and able to fight for you at trial.
Call Our Experienced Cape May Lawyers for a Detention Hearing Today
The detention hearing occurs very quickly after your arrest but can have major, far-reaching consequences for your entire case. As such, it is vital that you reach out to a skilled Cape May lawyer for a detention hearing like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon as possible after your arrest. We will work to assess the specifics of your case and other details about your background in order to craft the best possible argument for your unconditional release. For a free consultation, call our Cape May criminal defense attorneys today at (609) 616-4956.