The experience of being arrested can leave your feeling scared, vulnerable, and in a daze. This is especially true if your only prior experience with the criminal justice system is through what you have seen on TV or in the movies. When you have the cuffs slapped on your wrist, you might wonder what is really coming next and what you need to do to protect yourself. Terms like criminal arraignment may go in one ear and out the other if you do not know what such an arraignment is or what it entails.
The best thing you or a loved one can do to protect your rights and give you the best chance of getting your charges dismissed or downgraded is to retain an experienced Mays Landing, NJ attorney for a criminal arraignment as soon after your arrest as possible. Our compassionate lawyers understand that this is likely a foreign process for you, and we will be there by your side from your arrest to you arraignment and beyond to answer all your questions and serve as a fearless advocate for your innocence. Call our office today at (609) 616-4956 for a free consultation.
The Pre-Arraignment Process in Mays Landing, NJ
Sometimes, if you are caught committing a minor violation of law like a traffic infraction, the police will simply issue you a ticket with your arraignment date on it and let you go on your way. If this is what has occurred to you, reach out to an experienced Mays Landing lawyer right away, as we may be able to get in touch with the prosecutor and have the entire matter resolved when you appear for your arraignment. Typically, however, you will be placed under arrest if the police believe you have committed a crime. If they have probable cause, they may be able to arrest you on the spot. Otherwise, they will conduct an investigation and apply for an arrest warrant from a judge when they believe they have enough evidence.
If the judge grants the warrant for your arrest, the police will seek you out and arrest you. They will then transport you back to the local police station, where you will go through the booking process, which involves you being fingerprinted, photographed, and any items on your person at the time of the arrest being inventoried until your release. Once booking is complete, you will be escorted to the station’s holding cell or taken to the local jail to await your bail hearing, which usually must occur within 48 hours.
The Criminal Arraignment Process in Mays Landing, NJ
A criminal arraignment in Mays Landing is a fairly short proceeding where the judge reads the charges that have been filed against you, tells you about your rights under the criminal justice system, and asks you to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. In a disorderly persons case, New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor, the arraignment will be held shortly after your arrest, at the same time or soon after your bail hearing. As such, it is important to get in touch with an experienced arraignment attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon after your arrest as possible, so we can be there to represent you at the arraignment, where will likely advise you to plead not guilty while we further assess the case.
Whether you are charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense, New Jersey’s version of felonies, your bail hearing will occur quickly after your arrest. You will definitely want to be represented by a lawyer at this important hearing where the judge will decide whether you can be released or if you must be held in jail until your case is resolved. Since the virtual elimination of cash bail in New Jersey in 2017, the judge makes this decision based on a series of factors including your flight risk, the severity of the crime with which you are charged, your standing in the local community, and your criminal history. The judge can also impose non-monetary conditions on your release, such as mandatory counseling attendance. Our experienced bail hearing attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych know how to craft the best arguments to get you released without any onerous conditions.
In indictable offense cases, a further step is necessary before you will be arraigned. The prosecutor will have to take the case before the grand jury, who will decide based on the evidence presented them if there is enough there to justify proceeding with a criminal case against you. If they believe there is, they will issue an indictment against you. After your indictment, you will be arraigned in the superior court.
The Post-Arraignment Process in Mays Landing, NJ
At this point in the case, your lawyer will typically focus on plea negotiations with the prosecutor. For those with clean records, pre-trial intervention, where your charges are dropped if you successfully complete a program, may be a possibility. In other cases, we can work to get the charges downgraded or to get the prosecutor to recommend a more lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea.
Of course, if you are not interested in taking a deal, our seasoned trial lawyers are always ready and able to fight for your innocence in the courtroom. For indictable offense cases, you will have the right to a jury trial where you must be unanimously convicted. However, for disorderly persons offense charges, you are only entitled to a bench trial where a judge decides guilt or innocence.
Call Our Veteran Mays Landing, NJ Attorneys for a Criminal Arraignment Today
Being arrested for a crime can lead to serious consequences, including harsh fines and long jail sentences. To protect your rights and give yourself the best chance at a successful resolution, you should contact an experienced Mays Landing, NJ attorney for a criminal arraignment as soon after your arrest as possible. We will leave no stone unturned fighting for you as we work to bring your case to the best possible resolution. For a free consultation, call our office today at (609) 616-4956.