Sea Girt, NJ Attorney for a Criminal Arraignment
For most of us, our only experience of the criminal justice system is what we have seen on television and in the movies. As such, being arrested, especially for the first time, can be a shocking and confusing experience. You may have only a vague idea of what is about to happen to you and what you need to do to protect yourself and secure your rights. When you hear someone say that you are going to have an arraignment proceeding, you may be unsure what that means or entails.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our experienced Sea Girt, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment understand how foreign and scary this process can be for criminal defendants. We also understand that just because you have been accused of committing a crime, this does not mean that you actually did so. From your arrest to your arraignment and beyond, we will guide you through this process and fight to bring your case to a successful resolution. For a free consultation, call our office today at (609) 616-4956.
The Pre-Arraignment Process in Sea Girt, NJ
If you are caught committing a low level crime or infraction such as vandalism in Sea Girt, the police may just issue you a citation with a date on it for your arraignment and let you go on your way. Usually if the police believe you to have committed a crime, however, they will arrest you. An arrest may occur on the spot if the police personally see you commit a crime or otherwise have probable cause to believe you committed it. Otherwise, the police will conduct an investigation, and, when they feel they have enough evidence to arrest you, they will apply for an arrest warrant with a judge.
If the judge grants the warrant, the police will come seek you out to execute the warrant and place you under arrest. Once you have been placed under arrest, you will be transported to the local police station for the booking process, where the police fingerprint and photograph you and collect your biographical information. Then, you will be kept in the holding cell or taken to the local jail to be held until your bail hearing, which typically must occur within 48 hours of booking.
The Criminal Arraignment in Sea Girt, NJ
The Sea Girt criminal arraignment process itself is actually a fairly short and simple proceeding where the judge reads the charges against you, explains to you what rights you have during the criminal process, and asks you to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If you were cited and released, reach out to a lawyers right away, as we may be able to get in touch with the prosecutor before the arraignment and have the whole case resolved on that day. If you were arrested and charged with a disorderly persons offense, New Jersey’s equivalent of a misdemeanor, your arraignment will occur quickly after your arrest, at or around the same time as your bail hearing. You or a loved one should work quickly after your arrest to make sure you have an experienced arraignment lawyer like those at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych representing you at the arraignment, as we will likely advise you to enter an initial plea of not guilty to give us time to look into the case.
Furthermore, your bail hearing will occur quickly after you are arrested whether you are charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense, New Jersey’s equivalent of a felony, and you will certainly want to have an attorney represent you at this hearing. Since New Jersey virtually eliminated cash bail in 2017, the judge will decide between releasing you or holding you in jail until the underlying matter is resolved. Sometimes, the judge can impose non-monetary conditions on your release such as attending drug counseling. The judge will make their decision based on a series of holistic factors, including your ties to the community, the nature and severity of the allegations against you, and any criminal history you may have. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our experienced bail hearing attorneys understand how to make the most persuasive arguments to get you released without any cumbersome conditions.
In an indictable offense case in Sea Girt, the prosecutor will then have to take their evidence before a grand jury of 23 citizens. The grand jury will review the evidence, possibly listen to witnesses, and decide whether there is cause to proceed with a criminal case. If they believe there is, they will issue an indictment against you. Once you have been indicted, your arraignment will occur in the superior court in a similar manner to the arraignment in disorderly persons cases in Sea Girt.
The Post-Arraignment Process in Sea Girt, NJ
After the arraignment has been held, your lawyer will begin proper negotiations with the prosecutor if you are interested in a potential plea deal. For those without an extensive criminal history, we may be able to get the prosecutor to agree to let you into a pre-trial intervention program. If you complete this program successfully, your charges will be dropped. If pre-trial intervention is not an option in your case, we can try to get the prosecutor to agree to downgrade the charges or recommend a more lenient sentence to the judge if you plead guilty.
If you are not interested in taking a plea deal or are not happy with the deal you have been offered, our veteran trial attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are prepared to fight tooth and nail for your innocence at trial. In the superior court, where indictable offense cases are heard, you will always have the right to a trial by jury. In the municipal court, however, trials for disorderly persons offenses will occur before a judge, who alone will decide guilt or innocence.
Call Our Skilled Sea Girt, NJ Attorneys for a Criminal Arraignment Today
You may feel paralyzed and helpless after an arrest, but there are clear steps you and your loved ones can take to protect yourself, including hiring a lawyer to defend your rights. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our experienced Sea Girt, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment will be there with you every step of the way, from your arraignment and bail hearing and beyond, fighting to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. Call our firm today (609) 616-4956 at for a free consultation.