Northfield, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer
The last thing anyone wants is to be in need of a criminal defense attorney. Being charged with a crime can be one of the most intimidating and frightening experiences of a person’s life. The criminal justice process is often very complicated, confusing, and lengthy. Trials have been known to drag on for months at a time before finally being resolved. It is crucial that you seek a qualified attorney’s assistance to help you throughout the criminal justice process.
An attorney will have the skills and knowledge to advocate on your behalf in a court of law. There are many different stages and phases of the trial process with their own set of rules to follow. A lawyer can help you navigate this process and get you the best possible outcome. If you have been charged with any crime in New Jersey, call our Northfield, NJ criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956. Schedule a free legal consultation with our experienced attorney and legal team.
Being Charged with A Crime in Northfield, NJ
Many other states use the terms “felony” and “misdemeanor” to describe criminal charges. Generally, misdemeanors are somewhat less serious offenses punishable by up to a year in jail. Felonies tend to be more serious and may come with much longer prison terms. New Jersey is a bit different and does not use these terms. Instead, we refer to different offenses as disorderly persons offenses and crimes.
A disorderly person offense is a lower-level offense that typically comes with a less harsh punishment. Disorderly persons offenses are often punished by fines and very brief prison terms. A petty disorderly persons offense is even less serious and is typically penalized with only fines. In New Jersey, defendants charged with a disorderly persons offense have no right to a grand jury or a trial by jury. Additionally, the legal disadvantages of having a crime on your record are not present in disorderly persons offenses cases. These offenses are not considered crimes under the New Jersey Constitution.
New Jersey uses the term “crime” to describe an offense punishable by more than 6 months in prison. Crimes are further broken down into first-degree, second-degree, third-degree, and fourth-degree crimes. Fourth-degree crimes are the least serious of the three categories, and first-degree crimes are the most serious. Each degree of crime comes with a different level of penalties. If you have been charged with a crime or a disorderly persons offense, contact our Northfield, NJ criminal defense lawyer for help.
Penalties for Crimes Committed in Northfield, NJ
Each degree of crime has a different range of penalties that may be imposed upon conviction. Generally, fourth-degree crimes can be punished by no more than 18 months in prison. Third-degree crimes may be punished with a prison term from 3 to 5 years. Second-degree crimes are punishable by a prison term of 5 to 10 years. Finally, first-degree crimes carry penalties of 10 to 20 years in prison.
These penalties are only the starting point a court uses when determining what punishment to impose. Under certain circumstances, a defendant’s penalties may be enhanced if specific conditions are present. For example, defendants convicted of certain crimes of domestic violence may face higher mandatory minimum sentences, which means their penalty could be closer to 20 years in prison rather than 10 years if their crime is of the first-degree. Please consult with our Northfield, NJ criminal defense lawyer about your charges and allow us to help your case.
What Happens If I Am Arrested in Northfield, NJ?
Before you are formally charged with any crime, you will probably be arrested by the police. The police need to have a valid arrest warrant to place you under arrest. The warrant must be based on sufficient probable cause that demonstrates you likely committed a crime and be issued by a judge or magistrate. Once the police have a warrant, they may track you down and arrest you.
An arrest warrant is not always necessary for the police to execute an arrest. If the police are called to a crime scene and witness you commit the crime, they do not need a warrant to arrest you. Instead, they can arrest you right away at the scene. Even if the police do not witness you commit the crime, if they find probable cause to show you probably committed the crime and may be dangerous, they can arrest you. If you have been arrested for a crime in New Jersey, reach out to our Northfield, NJ criminal defense attorney for assistance.
Going to Trial for a Crime in Northfield, NJ
Every defendant who goes to trial has certain trial rights that the government cannot infringe upon. These include, but are not limited to, the right to an attorney and the right to a jury trial. While every defendant has a right to a trial by a jury of their peers, you have the option of waiving this right in favor of what is known as a bench trial. A bench trial is one where the judge acts as the jury and ultimately decides the verdict. The right to an attorney is crucial to your case because the trial process can be long and complicated. You will need an attorney who has the skills and experience to advocate on your behalf and defend your rights.
Believe it or not, you do not always have to go through a trial. Prosecutors frequently offer plea deals or plea bargains to defendants. These deals allow a defendant to potentially reduce their charges and penalties in exchange for pleading guilty and waiving their right to a trial. Many cases are resolved this way. If every case went to trial, the criminal justice system would become so backlogged that it would come to a complete stop. To determine if a plea deal is right for you, or for help negotiating a better plea deal, contact our Northfield, NJ criminal defense attorney.
Call Our Northfield, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
Facing criminal charges of any kind is a daunting experience, but we are here to help you through it. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in New Jersey, contact our Northfield, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Our legal team will defend your rights in court and fight for your best interests.