Especially for those who have never before faced the criminal justice system, being arrested can be one of the most confusing and frightening experiences imaginable. After you are taken into custody, you may have no idea what is about to happen to you or what rights you have. You may wonder what steps you or your loved ones should take to best protect you from the potential consequences. When the police tell you that you are going to face a criminal arraignment, you might not know what this entails.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our compassionate Sea Isle City, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment have years of experience guiding our clients through the criminal process, from arrest to arraignment and beyond. We will be there every step of the way to answer any questions you may have, be your fearless advocate, and work to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. Call our office today at (609) 616-4956 for a free consultation.
The Pre-Arraignment Process in Sea Isle City, NJ
For low-level crimes and infractions in Sea Isle City, such as most traffic matters, you will simply be issued a ticket or citation with your arraignment date on it and will be allowed to go on your way. If this happens to you, reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away so that we can contact the prosecutor and see if the entire matter can be resolved at arraignment. Most of the time when the police suspect you of committing a crime, however, they will place you under arrest.
Arrests can occur on the spot if the officer witnesses you commit the crime or otherwise has probable cause to believe you committed it. Otherwise, the police will conduct an investigation into the events that occurred and will apply for an arrest warrant when they believe they have enough evidence to arrest someone. If a warrant is granted by the judge, they will come to find you and place you under arrest. After you are arrested you will be transported to the local police station for the booking process, where you will be photographed, fingerprinted, and your biographical information collected. Then you will be held in a cell until your bail hearing, which usually must occur within 48 hours of booking.
The Criminal Arraignment in Sea Isle City, NJ
The criminal arraignment process in Sea Isle City is usually a relatively short proceeding where the judge reads the charges against you, advises you of your rights in the criminal justice system, and asks you to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. In a disorderly persons offense case, New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor, the arraignment occurs shortly after your arrest, at or around the same time as your bail hearing. It is vital to retain an attorney quickly so that we can be at your hearing, where we are likely to advise you to enter an initial plea of not guilty while we collect evidence and assess the strength of the case.
You will also want an attorney to represent you at your bail hearing, where the judge will decide if you can be released or if you must remain in jail until your underlying charge is resolved. This hearing occurs quickly after your arrest in both disorderly persons cases and indictable offense cases, New Jersey’s equivalent of a felony. Since New Jersey virtually eliminated cash bail in 2017, the judge will make this decision based on a series of holistic factors, including your prior criminal history, ties to the community, and the nature and severity of the crime alleged. The judge can also include conditions on your bail, like attending mandatory counseling sessions and staying out of further trouble. Our skilled bail hearing attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych know how to make the most persuasive arguments to the judge to get you released without any onerous conditions.
In indictable offense cases, the prosecutor will need to take their evidence before the grand jury at this point. The grand jury of 23 citizens will review the evidence and vote on whether there is enough there to proceed with a criminal case. If they vote to indict, then your arraignment will occur in the superior court where, similar to a disorderly persons offense case, your lawyer is likely to advise you to enter an initial not guilty plea while they assess the case and begin discussing a potential plea deal with the prosecutor.
Post-Arraignment Process in Sea Isle City, NJ
After your Sea Isle City bail hearing and arraignment are finished, your lawyer will likely begin in earnest negotiations with the prosecutor for a plea deal, if this is something that might interest you. For certain low-level crimes and people with a clean criminal history, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to let you enter into a pre-trial intervention program. If you complete such a program successfully, your charges will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record.
If pre-trial intervention is not a possibility in your case, then we will try to negotiate a deal where you plead guilty to a lesser charge or the prosecutor recommends a lenient sentence in exchange for you pleading guilty. Of course, if you do not wish to take a deal or are not happy with the deal that is offered, our dynamic trial attorneys are always ready to argue for your innocence in the courtroom. While those charged with indictable offenses will always have the right to a jury trial, those charged with disorderly persons offenses will only have the right to a trial before a judge.
Call Our Skilled Sea Isle City, NJ Attorneys for a Criminal Arraignment Today
Being charged with a crime is no joke, and it can lead to very serious penalties if you do take the steps you need to defend yourself. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our experienced Sea Isle City, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment have successfully worked with many clients from the start of their case all the way to the end. We will do everything in our power to bring your case to the most positive possible resolution. Call our firm today at (609) 616-4956 for a free consultation.