Being arrested, especially for someone without prior experience dealing with law enforcement or the criminal justice system, is likely to be one of the scariest moments of your life. It is totally understandable to feel frightened and helpless in the immediate aftermath, but it is also vital to know that there are steps you can take right away to protect your rights and give yourself the best chance at mitigating any damage already done. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to reach out to an experienced, local criminal defense lawyer as soon after your arrest as possible.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our veteran Collingswood criminal defense lawyers have years of experience successfully representing clients’ charges with all types of crimes in courtrooms throughout Collingswood and South Jersey. We understand that you may be going through one of the worst times of your life, and we are here to guide you through the process, answer any questions you may have, and serve as your fearless advocate in our quest to bring the matter to the best possible end for you. Call our office today at (609) 616-4956 for a free, confidential consultation.
What Do Our Collingswood, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Do?
A Collingswood, NJ criminal case can be lengthy and consist of multiple stages and proceedings. Below, we explain the major events of a criminal case and how our skilled attorneys can help you at each one.
Even before you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Collingswood like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych anytime the police try to question you or search your home or other property. If the police ask to speak with you, even if they say you are not a suspect and you are confident that you have done nothing wrong, you should always decline to do so until your attorney is present or has advised you it is okay to speak with them. If they ask for your consent to search your property, politely decline to give it. If they have a search warrant, you will have to let them in. However, our skilled attorneys for an illegal search and seizure can study the warrant and, if it is faulty or if the officers exceeded its scope, we can file a motion to exclude any evidence seized in the ensuing search from being used against you.
After your arrest, you will be transported to the local police station for the booking process. Within 48 hours of your booking, your initial appearance and detention hearing will be held. At your detention hearing, which used to be called a bail hearing, the judge will decide whether you can be released from jail while the case proceeds or if you must remain behind bars. Since the virtual elimination of cash bail in the state, the judge makes the decision based on a series of holistic factors like your criminal record and ties to the local community, rather than on your ability to pay. As such, it is even more important to have an experienced bail hearing attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych who know how to make the most persuasive arguments for your release.
At your initial appearance, which occurs at or around the same time as the detention hearing, the judge will read the charges against you and advise you of your rights. In disorderly persons cases, NJ’s version of misdemeanors, your arraignment, where you are asked to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty, also occurs at the first appearance. For indictable offense cases, the arraignment will occur later, only after the prosecutor has taken their case before the grand jury and returned with an indictment. In either case, an experienced Collingswood criminal attorney for a criminal arraignment is likely to advise you to enter a not guilty plea while they collect all the evidence, file any necessary motions, and try to work out a deal with the prosecutor for the charges to be downgraded or dismissed.
For some first-time criminal offenses in Collingswood, we may be able to get the prosecutor to offer you a pre-trial intervention program which, if completed successfully, means your charges will be dropped. Another possible deal involves the prosecutor downgrading the charges to something less serious in exchange for a guilty plea. If you do not wish to take a deal, our battle-tested trial lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are always ready to fight for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom.
Types of Cases Our Collingswood Criminal Defense Attorneys Handle
Due to the depth and breadth of our team’s experience, there are not many crimes in the NJ criminal code that at least one of our Collingswood criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych has not handled before. However, the following are some of the most common charges we defend folks against. This list is far from exhaustive, and reaching out to us will allow us to assess the particulars of your case and give you the most accurate possible advice about your options.
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual Crimes
- Disorderly Conduct
- Reckless Driving
- Fraud Crimes
Contact Our Collingswood, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
No matter how small a criminal charge may seem, a conviction on your criminal record is something that can haunt you for the rest of your life. In addition to any financial penalties and jail time assessed, you are likely to have difficulty finding gainful employment, especially with convictions for certain crimes. By contacting an experienced Collingswood, NJ criminal defense lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon after you are arrested as possible, you are giving yourself the best chance at averting the most negative potential consequences. We will leave no stone unturned fighting to get your charges downgraded or dismissed and for you to be able to move on from this experience without a stain on your future. For a free consultation, call our Atlantic City criminal defense law firm at (609) 616-4956 today.