People come from all over the country to visit the beaches of the New Jersey shore. Unfortunately, for some people on vacation, the fun can get out of hand and lead to trouble. Every year, vacationers from other states are charged with criminal offenses in New Jersey. Returning to New Jersey for various court dates and appearances can become mentally and financially draining. Many out-of-state defendants wonder if they absolutely have to show up for every hearing and court date.
The answer to this question will vary depending on your case. For minor offenses such as traffic violations or other petty disorderly persons offenses, it may be easier to convince a court to let you remain at home while a lawyer handles your case in your absence. For serious indictable crimes, you may be required to attend most, if not all, of your hearings. You have a right to appear at most of your criminal hearings. If you would rather have an attorney handle your case in your absence, you may have to formally waive your right to be present.
If you were criminally charged in New Jersey but live in another state, call our Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys for help. We may be able to handle your case for you while you remain at home with your family. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 to schedule a confidential legal consultation free of charge.
Do I Have to Attend Court in NJ if I Live Out-of-State?
In general, a criminal defendant is expected to appear at all their court hearing and proceedings. However, this is not always easy for some defendants. Defendants who were criminally charged in New Jersey but live very far away may have trouble returning to New Jersey for multiple proceedings. While courts prefer that defendants appear in court, your presence may be excused or waived in some circumstances. However, you must have a good reason for your absence and you must get approval from the court. Whether living far away from New Jersey is a valid excuse to waive your presence is determined at the court’s discretion.
The odds of being permitted to stay home while your lawyer handles your case is much greater if your criminal charges are minor. Non-violent disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses can be more easily handled without the defendant’s presence because the stakes are much lower. However, the court may be unwilling to let you waive your right to appear for a serious violent crime. For example, a lawyer can probably handle a small traffic offense without you. However, a violent assault charge will likely require your presence in court.
When your presence is required may also change depending on the type of hearing. Non-evidentiary hearings, like status updates, do not necessarily require your presence to move forward. However, evidentiary hearings, like preliminary hearings, bail hearings, and your trial, will require that you be there. It may be possible to have your presence waived in such hearings, but only if you have a valid reason and your presence is not needed for the case to move forward.
Call our Haddonfield criminal defense lawyers for help if you were charged in New Jersey but live in another state. We may be able to handle parts of your case without your presence.
Leaving NJ While Under Criminal Investigation
If you have not yet been criminally charged but are under investigation by the police in New Jersey, leaving the state could be a huge mistake. First, if you do end up being formally charged, you will likely have to return to New Jersey anyway to face your arraignment and enter a plea. However, the real trouble begins if you fail to return to New Jersey even after being charged.
If you are charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey but refuse to return, you could be extradited from your home state back to New Jersey. The extradition process involves interstate cooperation and nearly every state will extradite you back to New Jersey if need be. Extradition involves being arrested by the police in your home state and detained so that you may be transported to New Jersey to face your charges.
If you end up being extradited, the court may be far less willing to release you on bail as you may be perceived as a flight risk. If you live outside of New Jersey and believe you may face extradition sometime soon, call our Cape May criminal defense lawyers immediately.
Leaving New Jersey While Out on Bail
If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, you will likely have to go through a bail hearing. The purpose of bail is to ensure a defendant’s appearance in court by establishing consequences for failure to appear. The terms and conditions of your bail will vary depending on your charges and behavior.
In some cases, the judge may set your bail on the condition that you remain in New Jersey until the end of your trial. This may be done when the judge fears the defendant will attempt to flee the state. Our NJ criminal defense lawyers can represent you at your bail hearing and explain to the judge that you are not a New Jersey resident and remaining in the state would present an undue hardship.
If you are released on bail and return to your home state without notifying the court, you may run into trouble. If you need to leave New Jersey, the court must know why. Otherwise, it may be perceived as an attempt to run. You risk having your bail revoked and you would end up in jail for the remainder of your trial.
Call Our NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been criminally charged in New Jersey but live very far away in another state, call our Ocean City criminal defense lawyers for help. We may be able to represent you in your absence, depending on your situation. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 to discuss your case with our team of experienced attorneys.