Once charged, a defendant is usually brought before a judge, and the wheels of justice begin to turn. How long this process takes may vary from case to case, but the criminal justice process is known to be slow at times.
People often believe that after you are charged, you have a trial, but this is not entirely true. Numerous pretrial hearings must happen before your trial is even scheduled. Bail hearings, arraignments, preliminary hearings, and more must happen. The trial itself is known to be a lengthy proceeding, too, depending on the situation. Even after a trial is complete, the jury may take a long time to deliberate. Even so, numerous other factors may speed up this process and resolve your case faster.
Criminal charges occur toward the beginning of the criminal justice process, and the process can be very long or surprisingly short. Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can help you each step of the way. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a free case review.
How Long Do Pretrial Hearings Take After Being Charged in New Jersey?
The criminal justice process in New Jersey can be very time-consuming. While many defendants might want to get their cases over and done with quickly, a slow process is not necessarily a bad thing. It may be better to move slowly and cautiously than to come to a quick conclusion. In any case, there are multiple pretrial hearings to get through. Each hearing is usually scheduled on a different date, and the more hearings you have, the longer your case may take.
Bail is determined soon after you are arrested and charged. New Jersey has gone through somewhat recent bail reform, and many defendants are granted bail without paying any money. However, there may still be cases in which a defendant must pay some money to secure their pretrial release. It is challenging to coordinate your trial and other hearings from jail, and if you are not granted bail or cannot afford it, your case might take longer to complete.
Charges are often determined through a grand jury indictment process. At this hearing, witnesses may testify, the county prosecutor may present evidence, and a jury will decide what charges to press. This hearing does not determine guilt. Also, you and your attorney are not present at this hearing. Depending on what the jury decides, your charges may be very serious or downgraded to a disorderly persons offense.
The arraignment is where you are formally notified of the charges against you, and you may enter a plea. The prosecutor must also make all their evidence available to the defense for review. Depending on how much evidence is involved, you may need more time to review everything.
Our Atlantic County criminal defense lawyers can walk you through each step and protect your rights at every turn. While there are many pretrial steps, some move quicker than others. Your lawyer can help you avoid stumbling blocks that might slow you down.
How Long Do Trials Take After Being Charged in New Jersey?
When your trial is scheduled depends on numerous factors, including the court’s schedule. A particularly busy court may have to schedule your trial a few months out. A less busy court might be able to do it in only a few weeks. Our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers are familiar with multiple courts in the state and can estimate how long you can expect to wait for your trial.
Once the trial begins, it might move slowly or quickly. A trial with a lot of evidence and numerous witnesses will take more time to complete. Other trials are called “open and shut cases” because they happen so quickly.
Time is taken to select a jury, provide opening statements, present evidence and arguments, and provide closing statements. This might take a few days, a few weeks, or longer, depending on your situation.
How Much Time Is There for Jury Deliberations in New Jersey?
Once a trial is complete, a jury of your peers must reach a verdict. If your case is a bench trial, the judge makes the final decision. Deliberations often take time, and the more complex your case is, the longer a jury can be expected to deliberate. In some cases, jurors reach quick decisions in only a few hours. In other cases, juries have been known to deliberate for days or even over a week.
The time it takes for a jury to reach a final decision depends on the complexity of the law, facts, and evidence in your case. The law is often hard for jurors to wrap their heads around, and it is normal for jurors to take their time with deliberations and ask the court for clarifications on points of law.
Our Cape May criminal defense attorneys can help you present clear and concise evidence and hopefully keep your case free of unnecessary complexities. Keep in mind, a quick or slow decision does not indicate the type of verdict reached by the jury. Do not be alarmed if your verdict takes an unusually long time to reach.
Speeding Up Your New Jersey Criminal Case
Our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can help you take steps to speed up your criminal justice process or at least avoid pitfalls that might slow you down. For example, if you want to plead guilty and avoid a trial, our team can help you work out a favorable plea agreement to avoid overly harsh penalties.
Strong evidence often helps move a case along faster. Defendants sometimes do not know where to look for evidence to support their case. Our team can track down physical evidence, witnesses, and records that refute the prosecutor’s case against you. Strong evidence is hard to refute, and prosecutors may be more open to quick plea agreements or even dropping the charges.
Call Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys for Assistance
If you are facing criminal charges, our Margate criminal defense lawyers can help you complete your case as quickly as possible while working to protect your rights. For a free case evaluation, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Call our offices at (609) 616-4956.