Cape May County, NJ is home to some of the most beloved and beautiful beach resort towns in the state, and tourists flock there in the summer months. While most folks have a great time, unfortunately sometimes things can get out of hand, and a visitor (or a local) can find themselves in handcuffs in the back of a police car. After your arrest, while you are certain to be scared and disoriented, it is important that you keep calm and act quickly to take the steps needed to protect yourself and your constitutional rights. You will not have much time before major events in your case, such as the arraignment and the detention hearing, occur. Below, our veteran Cape May criminal lawyers for a detention hearing at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych explain what a detention hearing is, whether you need a Cape May criminal defense attorney, and how our lawyers can help get you out of jail and bring the underlying case to a successful resolution.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me in a Detention Hearing in Cape May County?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes. The detention hearing is where a judge will decide if you can be released from custody while your charges move through the system or if you must remain detained in jail. It typically occurs no more than 48 hours after you have been arrested and booked for a crime, but often much sooner. In the meantime, you will typically be held in the station’s holding cell or at the local jail. You need to act quickly during this time to either reach out a skilled Atlantic County criminal attorney for a detention hearing like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych yourself or contact a loved one to do so on your behalf. The quicker you get in touch with us, the more time we will have to prepare the most comprehensive strategy to get you released at the detention hearing.

How Does a Cape May County, NJ Detention Hearing Work?

Prior to 2017, the detention hearing was known more commonly as a “bail hearing,” and the usual result of such a hearing would be for the judge to set cash bail at a certain amount depending on the charges and other factors. Your ability to get out of jail would essentially be based on whether or not you were rich enough to pay the amount of money set as bail. However, in a landmark 2017 law, New Jersey virtually eliminated the use of cash bail in its court systems. Now, judges makes decisions about who can and cannot be released based on a holistic view of each defendant, including a risk assessment and a look at their criminal record of lack thereof, as well as consideration of the nature and severity of the offense alleged.

The judge has the options to release you on your own recognizance, where your only obligation will be to return for court as required, or release you with some sort of non-monetary conditions, such as a GPS ankle monitor or mandatory counseling. In very serious cases or situations where you have an extensive criminal record and the judge believes you may be a threat to public safety if released, they may choose to keep you detained in jail until your underlying charges are resolved. A skilled Cape May County, NJ attorney for a detention hearing like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych will know the most persuasive arguments to make to the judge, based on our knowledge and experience, to get them to release you without any cumbersome conditions.

What Happens After a Detention Hearing in Cape May County, NJ?

If the judge chooses to detain you, we can file a motion to modify the decision and make a more thorough argument about you as person and why you should be released pending a resolution of the charges against you. Once we have gotten you out of jail, we will focus on requesting any remaining evidence from the prosecutor’s office, filing any motions like a motion to suppress evidence gained through an illegal search and seizure in Atlantic City and Cape May, and working with the prosecutor to try to negotiate a deal for your charges to be downgraded or dismissed. In some cases, especially for first-time offenders, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you into a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program. If you complete PTI successfully, the charges against you will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record that could make it more difficult to qualify for financial assistance or gain steady employment in the future, among other things.

If PTI is not on the table for you, we can try to work out a deal for the prosecutor to downgrade the charges against you to something less serious, such as from DUI charges to reckless driving charges, in exchange for you pleading guilty and saving the state the time and cost of putting on a trial. In other cases, the prosecutor might agree to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge. Of course, if you are not satisfied with the deal offered or simply are not willing to plead guilty, our battle-tested trial attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are ready and able to fight for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom.

Call Our Cape May County, NJ Criminal Attorneys for a Detention Hearing Today

You should do everything in your power to work quickly after your arrest and retain an experienced Cape May County, NJ criminal attorney for a detention hearing like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. We can work to convince the judge to release you from jail without any onerous conditions placed on you. After this, we can turn our attentions to assessing the strength of the case and working with the prosecutor to try to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For a free consultation, contact us at (609) 616-4956 today.