Ocean County, NJ Attorney for a Criminal Arraignment
For those who have no prior experience dealing with the criminal justice system, being arrested can be not only terrifying, but also confusing and disorienting. Once the cuffs have been placed on you, you may have absolutely no idea what to do next, or what is about to happen to you. When you are told that you are going to be taken to the courthouse for a criminal arraignment, you might not know what that is.
However terrified you are, it is important that you act swiftly to retain experienced counsel who knows the process and can work to protect your rights. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our Ocean County, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment have years of experienced fighting successfully for clients charged with all sorts of crimes throughout the county. From your arraignment to the end of the case will be there every step of the way to guide you through the complexities of the system and answer any questions you may have. Call our firm today at (609) 616-4956.
The Pre-Arraignment Process in Ocean County, NJ
In certain cases, for minor crimes and infractions, the police will simply issue you a citation or summons with a court date on it for your arraignment, and you will be released. In other cases, the police can make a warrantless arrest on the spot if they personally witnessed you commit the crime or otherwise have probable cause to believe you committed it. In most cases, there will be some sort of police investigation into the crime, often involving interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, and reviewing footage of the crime scene, if any exists. Once the police believe their investigations has yielded enough evidence to arrest a particular suspect, they will apply for a warrant with a judge.
If this arrest warrant is issued, the police will come find you at your home, place of employment, or wherever you are, in order to execute it and place you under arrest. After your arrest, you will be taken to the local police station for what is known as the booking process. During booking, you will be photographed and fingerprinted and your biographical information will be collected. You will then be held in the station’s holding cell or at the local jail until your first appearance in court, which will typically occur no more than 48 hours from the time of your booking.
The Arraignment Process in Ocean County, NJ
The arraignment is a short proceeding where the charges against you are read and you are asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. When your arraignment occurs will depend on what kind of crime you are charged with. As noted above, for some minor charges like infractions, you will be issued a ticket with a date to appear for your arraignment. If this happens to you, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away. We can use the time leading up to the arraignment to assess the strength of the case and try to work out a deal with the prosecutor so that your whole case can be wrapped up in one appearance.
If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor, your arraignment will be your first appearance before a judge and it will be in the municipal court. Our lawyers are likely to advise you to plead not guilty at this point so that we can review all the evidence and speak with the prosecutor. The arraignment will usually occur at the same time as the bail hearing in disorderly persons cases. In indictable offense cases, New Jersey’s version of felonies, the bail hearing will be the first event held.
At the bail hearing, the judge will decide whether or not you can be released while your underlying case is resolved. Since New Jersey virtually eliminated cash bail in 2017, the judge will make this decision based on a series of holistic factors, including your criminal history, flight risk, ties to the community, and the severity of the alleged crime. Our experience bail hearing attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can fight to get you released quickly and without any cumbersome conditions.
In indictable offense cases, after the bail hearing, the prosecutor will take the case before the grand jury, who will decide whether there is enough evidence there for the case to proceed. If so, they will issue an indictment against you. Once this indictment has been issued, you will be arraigned in superior court and asked to enter your plea.
The Post-Arraignment Process in Ocean County, NJ
Once the arraignment is over, your attorney can begin negotiating with the prosecutor about a potential plea deal. If you have a clean criminal record, we can work to get the prosecutor to let you into pre-trial intervention, a program that, if completed successfully, results in your charges being dropped. If pre-trial intervention is not a possibility in your case, we can fight for a deal where your charges are downgraded to something less serious or where the prosecutor agrees to recommend a lenient sentence in exchange for you pleading guilty.
If you do not wish to accept a deal, our skilled trial attorneys are always ready and able to fight for your innocence at trial. Be sure to note, however, that while you always have the right to a jury trial when charged with an indictable offense in the superior court, there is no right to a jury trial for disorderly persons offenses charged in municipal court. You will have a bench trial decided entirely by the judge.
Call Our Ocean County, NJ Attorneys for a Criminal Arraignment Today
The criminal arraignment is usually just the beginning of your journey through the criminal justice system after you have been arrested for a crime. The most important thing you can do to make this journey easier and help bring it to the best possible resolution is to move as quickly as you can to retain a skilled Ocean County, NJ attorney for a criminal arraignment like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. We will fight for your rights inside and outside the courtroom as we work to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For a free consultation, call us today at (609) 616-4956.