For many folks, most of what they have seen of the criminal justice system comes from movies and TV. As such, being arrested or cited for a crime in real life can be a jarring and terrifying experience, and you may not have the actual know-how about what comes next. The most important thing you can do is to stay calm and keep your head on straight so that you can take the steps you need to protect your rights, including reaching out to a local criminal defense attorney as soon after your arrest as possible.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our veteran Hamilton Township, New Jersey criminal defense lawyers have years of experience successfully defending clients against all sorts of criminal charges in Hamilton Township and throughout the area. We commit to our clients and we will treat you as a person going through one of the toughest experiences of your life, not just another file to be closed.
Schedule a meeting with our talented team of attorneys. Our Hamilton, New Jersey criminal defense attorneys will fight tirelessly to bring your matter to the best possible resolution for you and your future. For a free case review, call us today at (609) 616-4956.
Types of Crimes Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Hamilton, New Jersey Handle
The New Jersey criminal code is long and contains many crimes. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our experienced criminal defense lawyers have handled almost every kind of criminal case you can imagine. Below are just some of the types of charges we have successfully defended our clients against.
- Drug Crimes
- Sexual Assault
- Disorderly Conduct
- Gun Crimes
- Underage Drinking
The legal procedures and hearings that come with criminal charges are often very complex and difficult for the average defendant to understand. Even minor offenses may be complicated and drawn out. Our Hamilton, New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can help you resolve your case as quickly as possible.
When to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Hamilton, New Jersey
People often wonder when they should hire an attorney to help them with criminal charges. Defendants are often overwhelmed and confused by the criminal justice process, and they sometimes wait for someone else, like a judge or the prosecutor, to tell them to get an attorney. However, you can hire an attorney at any time, even before you have been arrested.
While hiring an attorney after being arrested is common, it is best to make the call sooner rather than later. The sooner a lawyer can begin work on your case, the better they will be able to protect your rights and fight your charges. The police and even prosecutors sometimes rely on defendants not knowing what to do. Our Hamilton, New Hersey criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your charges and hopefully keep you out of jail.
You also seek to hire a new attorney if you are convicted and wish to appeal. Sometimes, appellate issues are actually caused by defense attorneys who did not do a good job. In such cases, you probably want a new lawyer to step in, review your case, and help you get a new trial and a second chance.
How a Hamilton, NJ Defense Attorney Can Assist You Pre-Arrest
Even before you are cited or arrested for a crime, there are times when you might need protection and knowledge offered by a skilled criminal defense lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. For example, if the police try to question you, even if they claim you are not a suspect, you should always politely take advantage of your right to remain silent until a lawyer is by your side or has advised you otherwise.
Furthermore, if the police show up to your home or place of business with a search warrant, our skilled attorneys for an illegal search and seizure can make sure that the warrant was properly issued and that the officers did not exceed its scope or date of expiration. If the warrant is faulty or the search was overbroad, we can file a motion to suppress the use of any evidence found in the ensuing search from being used against you in a criminal case.
It might seem silly to contact an attorney before you are even arrested, but it is in your best interest to be as proactive as possible. If you believe you might be under investigation by law enforcement or someone in your community has made criminal accusations against you, now is the time to lawyer up. Contact our Hamilton, New Jersey criminal defense lawyers with any questions about any criminal charges you believe are imminent.
How a Hamilton, New Jersey Defense Attorney Can Assist You After an Arrest
After you are arrested in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, you will be transported to the local police station for the booking process, where you will be fingerprinted and photographed, and the police will collect your biographical information. Within 48 hours of your booking, your initial appearance and your detention hearing, also known as a bail hearing, will occur. As such, it is vital that as soon as you are arrested, you or a loved one reach out to a skilled bail hearing attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. We can help you prepare for this hearing, where the judge will decide whether or not you can be released from jail.
Since cash bail was virtually eliminated in New Jersey in 2017, it is more important than ever to have a lawyer argue that you are not a public danger and should be released, as you will not be able to bail yourself out with cash.
In the case of disorderly persons offense, New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor, your arraignment will occur at your initial appearance. Your arraignment is where you are asked to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. In indictable offense cases, the arraignment will not occur until after an indictment has been returned. Most times, your lawyer will advise you to plead not guilty at your arraignment while we request all the prosecutor’s evidence, assess the strength of the case, and try to work out a deal for your charges to be downgraded or dismissed.
What Happens at a Hamilton, New Jersey Criminal Trial?
The trial can be thought of as the heart of the criminal justice process. Criminal defendants have a right to a trial by a jury of their peers or a judge in bench trials. For disorderly persons cases, you will have a bench trial, where a judge will decide guilt or innocence. For an indictable offense, you are entitled to a trial by a jury of 12 citizens who must vote unanimously in order to convict you. Our Hamilton, New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can advise you on how to proceed through your trial.
Trials require showings of evidence and proof that either proves or disproves your participation in a crime. In criminal trials, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. This is an extremely high burden to meet, and the right attorney can help you highlight the flaws and holes in the prosecution’s case against you.
Our Hamilton, New Jersey criminal defense attorneys are experienced trial lawyers who can help you assert the best defense possible. An attorney is necessary to identify when unlawful or inappropriate evidence is being introduced against you. If a prosecutor attempts to introduce evidence that was unlawfully seized or is otherwise unfair, your lawyer can object and work to keep the evidence out.
Alternative Sentencing for Criminal Charges in Hamilton, New Jersey
A trial may end in a verdict of guilty or not guilty. If your jury cannot reach a verdict, your case might end in a hung jury, a new trial must be scheduled, and the entire process starts over. However, not every case will make it to the end of a trial. Many cases are resolved early through plea bargaining.
Other potential deals we can work out include the prosecutor downgrading the charge to something less serious or making a lenient sentencing recommendation to the judge as part of a plea bargain. A plea bargain – also called a plea deal or plea agreement – is an arrangement between the prosecutor on your case and you. The prosecutor will agree to reduce the charges against you, and in exchange, you agree to enter a guilty plea and waive your right to a trial. If an acquittal is not a realistic outcome for your case, a plea bargain might be an option worth your consideration. Our Hamilton, New Jersey criminal defense lawyers will negotiate for the most favorable plea deal possible. If you do not wish to take a deal, our battle-tested trial attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are always ready and willing to fight for your innocence in the courtroom.
In some cases where you are a first-time offender in Hamilton Township charged with a relatively minor crime, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you into a pre-trial intervention program which, if completed successfully, will result in your charges being dismissed. There are numerous types of intervention and version programs available. Each program has its own unique eligibility criteria, and not all defendants can get in.
Generally, upon successfully completing an intervention or diversion program, your charges may be dropped or dismissed. However, if you fail to fulfill the conditions of the program, you may end up guilty of the charges against you.
Appealing a Conviction After Your Criminal Trial in Hamilton, New Jersey
If you are unfortunately found guilty, there may still be hope for your case. After a guilty verdict, a defendant has the right to file an appeal. An appeal is not a new trial but more like a legal review of your trial by a higher court. If the court finds any serious legal errors, the court has the power to overturn your conviction and order a new trial.
The higher court will only look for errors that we claim in your appeal. For example, if we believe the judge allowed tainted evidence into the trial, we must assert this claim in your appeal. If we do not assert it, the higher court will not review it. Talk to our Hamilton, New Jersey criminal defense lawyers about filing an appeal after a conviction. Be warned, a direct appeal must be filed within 30 days of your conviction, so time is of the essence.
It might be more difficult to file an appeal if your guilty verdict was the result of a guilty plea or plea bargain. An appellate court’s job is to review the record of your trial for possible errors. If you entered a guilty plea, you would have waived your right to a trial, meaning no trial was held. Therefore, there would be no record for an appellate court to review. However, you can still appeal if you believe your guilty plea was coerced or you were otherwise tricked into pleading guilty.
Our Hamilton, New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help
Any time you are charged with a crime, you should reach out to our experienced Hamilton Township criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Our lawyers have the years of experience necessary to mount the best possible defense. For a free case review, call our firm today at (609) 616-4956.