After being arrested, your mind is likely to be racing a million miles a minute, thinking about the potentially far-reaching consequences ahead of you. However, it is very important that, even through your fear and a confusion, you try to keep your head on straight and focus on the immediate steps you can take to give yourself the best chance at successfully resolving the situation. One of the first things you will need to focus on is getting yourself out of jail, as your detention hearing will occur within 48 hours of your arrest and booking, and usually sooner. As such, you or a loved one will need to contact a skilled Atlantic City criminal defense lawyer as quickly after your arrest as possible so that we can prepare for and appear at this hearing. Below, our experienced lawyers explain when to hire an attorney, how a detention hearing works, and how we can help you at this hearing and beyond in bringing your case to the best possible conclusion.
When Do I Need an Attorney for a Detention Hearing in NJ?
Occasionally, if you are arrested for a low-level crime like disorderly conduct, the police may release you on your own recognizance with a citation and a court date. However, most of the time, those who are arrested will be booked into the system and then kept in the station’s holding cell or transported to the local jail until you can appear before a judge at a detention hearing. Under New Jersey law, a detention hearing almost always must occur within 48 hours of your booking. Usually, unless you are arrested on a weekend or holiday, it will occur faster than this, often less than a day after you are booked. As such, it is imperative that you or a loved one get in contact with a skilled criminal lawyer for a detention hearing as soon after your arrest as possible so that you do not go without skilled counsel at this vital stage of your case.
How Can An Attorney Help Me at a New Jersey Detention Hearing?
Prior to 2017, New Jersey used a cash bail system like most states, where individuals were able to be released if they paid a certain amount of bail money as set by a judge. However, in 2017, New Jersey passed a bill essentially eliminating the use of cash bail in the state and replacing it with a holistic system where the judge will take a series of factors into consideration when granting your release. Because the decision will no longer be strictly based on what you can afford, it is even more vital than every to have a battle-tested attorney at this hearing who understands the factors judges now take into consideration when making pre-trial release decisions.
The judge will essentially have three options at this hearing: they can release you on your own recognizance, release you with non-monetary conditions such as attending mandatory counseling, or rule that you must remain detained in jail until your underlying case is resolved. Usually, judges will only detain for the remainder of the case those individuals who are alleged to have a very serious crime like homicide or who have an extensive criminal record or a record of not appearing for court. However, the judge might choose to impose serious conditions like GPS ankle monitoring or required check-ins with the court. Our skilled detention hearing attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych know what factors judges find most persuasive, including the nature and severity of your offense, your criminal record or lack thereof, your assessed flight risk, and your ties to and contributions to the local community. We will use our knowledge and experience to fight to get you released quickly and without any of the most burdensome conditions imposed on your release.
What Happens After a Detention Hearing in New Jersey?
If the judge chooses to hold you, we can file a motion for modification of the decision, and another hearing will be held where we can make more in-depth arguments for your release, including introducing character witnesses in some cases. Once we have gotten you out of jail, we can turn our focus to requesting all of the prosecutor’s evidence, filing any necessary motions, like a motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search and seizure, and trying to work out a deal with the prosecutor for your charges to be downgraded or dismissed. In some cases, especially if it is your first offense, we may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to allow you into a pre-trial intervention program, where your charges will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record if you complete the program successfully.
If pre-trial intervention is not an option, there are other deals out battle-tested attorney can work out. Some possibilities including the prosecutor agreeing to downgrade the charge to something less serious, such as from aggravated assault to simple assault, in exchange for you entering a guilty plea and saving the state the time and cost of trial, or the prosecutor agreeing to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge. If you do not wish to take a deal, or are not satisfied with the deals offered, our experienced trial lawyers at the Law Offices of John. J Zarych are ready to mount the most compelling arguments for your innocence in the courtroom.
Call Our Skilled NJ Attorneys to Represent You at Your Detention Hearing Today
You absolutely want and need an attorney for your detention hearing, a major step in your criminal case where the judge will decide if you must remain in jail or can be released while the case goes through the system. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our veteran New Jersey lawyers for a detention hearing have years of experience successfully arguing on behalf of our clients at this hearing to get them released with as few conditions as possible. Then we will get to work on the rest of your case. For a free consultation, call our firm today at (609) 616-4956.