The criminal justice process is long and complicated. While some defendants believe they do not need a lawyer until they have been formally charged, this is not necessarily true.

You should hire a criminal defense attorney in New Jersey as soon as possible. While there is no requirement that defendants hire attorneys this early or at all, doing so is usually in their best interest. A New Jersey criminal defense attorney can help you through the early stages of the criminal justice process before you receive formal charges and pave the way for the rest of your case. Defendants are particularly vulnerable during these early stages before being formally charged. They are often frightened and worried and likely to give in to police pressure tactics and incriminate themselves. Hiring an attorney right away might help them avoid these pitfalls.

You should speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible. Do not wait to receive formal charges to take action. Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can help you protect yourself. For a free case evaluation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.

When to Hire a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney

There is no legal requirement or rule that criminal defendants must hire an attorney before a specific deadline. In fact, defendants do not have to hire an attorney if they do not want to. However, hiring a lawyer is almost always in your best interest, and you should hire one as soon as possible. Our Ocean City criminal defense attorneys can help you with your charges no matter what stage of the criminal justice process you find yourself in.

The sooner you hire a lawyer to help you, the better. People sometimes assume they do not need a lawyer until after they have been charged, but this is not true. So much happens to criminal suspects before they are charged that might influence the outcome of their trial. You should hire an attorney as soon as possible after being arrested. If you are aware you are under criminal investigation but have not yet been arrested, you should still speak to an attorney about your situation.

How a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Before You Receive Charges

A criminal defense attorney can help you with your case way before you actually receive your charges. In some cases, criminal defense lawyers can work to help their clients avoid certain charges. When the defendant finally does receive their charges, they are fewer or less severe than they would have been without the attorney’s help. Our Gloucester City, NJ criminal defense attorneys can help you through your case.

Before you are charged, you might be asked questions by the police. For many defendants, police questioning is more than just a few simple questions; it is a full interrogation. Even if you have not been arrested, you should have an attorney with you when you speak to the police.

If you are held in police custody and asked questions about an alleged crime, you have rights that must be protected and respected. According to your Miranda rights, which kick in during custodial interrogations, you have the rights to remain silent and have a lawyer present. You should invoke these rights and get a lawyer by your side as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you avoid unnecessarily incriminating yourself and protect you from overzealous law enforcement.

You might also be put through a bail hearing before you receive formal charges. This is a critical hearing as it determines whether you can be released from jail before trial and on what terms and conditions. Having an attorney at this point might help you secure pretrial release on less restrictive terms.

Benefits of Hiring a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Before Being Charged

Hiring an attorney immediately rather than waiting until you have received charges comes with various benefits. First and foremost, hiring an attorney as soon as possible in the criminal justice process helps you avoid making unnecessary mistakes that might otherwise cost you in the long run. For example, your attorney can help you avoid unknowingly making incriminating statements or assert your rights when you might not realize you have them.

It is never too early to begin tackling evidentiary issues. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible rather than waiting for formal charges might allow your attorney to handle certain pieces of evidence before they become problems. For example, our Cape May criminal defense lawyers might be able to identify evidence that is tainted and must be excluded from your trial. We can file a motion to suppress the evidence before it reaches the courtroom.

In some cases, attorneys can get to work early enough that they might get prosecutors to drop or reduce charges before the defendant is formally charged. This can be a major boon for criminal defendants. Even if they are convicted, their conviction is for lesser or fewer charges, thanks to their lawyer’s hard work.

What Happens If I Wait Until After Receiving Charges to Hire a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer?

It is not illegal to wait to hire a lawyer or to forego having a lawyer altogether. However, waiting to consult with an attorney about your case might set you up for future legal hurdles and roadblocks. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for your attorney to catch up with your case and help you defend yourself against criminal charges. Our Brigantine criminal defense lawyers can get to work on your case immediately after you are arrested.

As discussed earlier, defendants are prone to making mistakes earlier in the criminal justice process because they are usually scared or under a lot of stress. If you do not have an attorney to help you avoid mistakes, those mistakes might come back to haunt you in a big way. For example, you might have made certain statements to the police that might be construed as admissions of wrongdoing. In reality, you were answering questions the only way you knew how while under tremendous stress.

Call our New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers for a Free Case Review

If you were arrested and are facing potential criminal charges, our Avalon criminal defense lawyers can help you with your case, even before you formally receive the charges. For a free case assessment, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956.