Being arrested can be one of the scariest and most disorienting experiences that a person faces in their life, especially for those who have no prior experience with the criminal justice system. After you have the cuffs slapped on you, it is likely that you have only a vague idea of what is coming next. You may not know the best steps to take at that moment to protect your freedom, your rights, and your innocence. When an officer or someone else tells you that you will be facing an arraignment, you are sure to have lot of questions about just what that entails.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our Margate, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment have years of experience working to bring our clients’ criminal matters to a successful conclusion. From your arrest to your arraignment and beyond, our lawyers will be there with you every step of the way to guide you through this complicated process, answer any questions you may have, and serve as your fearless advocate. For a free consultation, call our office today at (609) 616-4956
The Pre-Arraignment Process in Margate, NJ
For certain minor crimes or infractions, the police will most likely write you a summons or citation with some sort with a court date on it and release you. In most other cases where the police suspect you of committing a crime, you will be arrested. Police officers can arrest you on the spot if they personally witness you commit a crime or otherwise have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. More often, there will be an investigation into the matter, where witnesses will be interviewed and evidence will be reviewed. When the police believe they have enough evidence to arrest someone, they will apply for an arrest warrant with a judge.
If the judge issues the warrant, the police will come to your home or place of business to find you and execute it. After your arrest, the police will take you to the local station for your booking, a process during which you will be fingerprinted and photographed and your biographical information is collected. Following your booking you will be kept in the station’s holding cell or transported to the local jail to be held until your bail hearing, which typically must occur with 48 hours of your booking.
Criminal Arraignments in Margate, NJ
The criminal arraignment itself is actually just a short proceeding where the judge reads the charges against you, explains your rights during the criminal justice process, and asks you to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. When and where your arraignment will occur will depend on whether you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor, or an indictable offense, New Jersey’s version of a felony. For disorderly persons cases, the arraignment occurs in the municipal court as your first court event, usually at the same time as the bail hearing. This is also true if you were issued a citation and released. In that case, if you reach out to a skilled criminal arraignment lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away, we may be able to get in touch with the prosecutor and work out a deal where the matter is resolved on the arraignment date.
It is important to have a lawyer for your arraignment, as they will likely advise you to plead not guilty so that they can have time to assess all the evidence and discuss a potential plea deal. They can also represent you at your bail hearing, which occurs quickly after your arrest in both disorderly persons and felony cases, and where a judge will decide whether you can be released or must remain in jail until your charges are resolved. Since New Jersey virtually eliminated cash bail in 2017, the judge will make their release decision based on a holistic series of factors including your criminal history, potential flight risk, ties to the community, and the nature and severity of the alleged crime. Our skilled bail hearing attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Zarych can make the strongest arguments to get you released.
In indictable offense cases, after the bail hearing the prosecutor will take the matter before a grand jury, who will decide if there is enough there to issue an indictment. If they indict you, then you will be arraigned in the superior court, where your lawyer is similarly likely to advise you to enter an initial plea of not guilty while they work on the case.
The Post-Arraignment Process in Margate, NJ
After the arraignment and bail hearing are over, your lawyer will begin negotiating a plea deal with the prosecutor if this is something you are interested in. For those without a serious criminal record, we can try to get you into a pre-trial intervention program. If you complete this program successfully, your charges will be dismissed and you will not have a criminal record. If pre-trial intervention is not an option in your case, we will try to work out a deal where your charges are downgraded or you plead guilty in exchange for the prosecution recommending a lenient sentence.
Of course, if you do not wish to take a plea deal, our skilled trial attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are always ready and willing to fight for your innocence in court. Note that, while those charged with indictable offenses always have the right to a jury trial, those charged with disorderly persons offenses are only entitled to a bench trial where a judge decides guilt or innocence.
Call Our Seasoned Margate, NJ Attorneys for a Criminal Arraignment Today
Unfortunately, the arraignment is typically just the beginning of what can often be a long journey through the criminal justice system. You need a lawyer who can represent you not just at your arraignment, but also at your bail hearing and beyond. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our Margate, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment have years of experience guiding our clients through the criminal justice system and bringing their cases to a successful resolution. For a free consultation, call us today at (609) 616-4956.