After being arrested, you are likely to be in a sustained state of shock, confusion, and fear, especially if this is your first time dealing with the police in this manner. While you may be aware that you need to take steps to protect yourself, you also may have no idea what those steps should be or how you should go about starting down such a path. When someone at the station tells you that you will be going before a judge for a criminal arraignment, you are likely to wonder what this means and what it entails.
Although it can be difficult while in such a state of shock, the most important thing you or a loved one can do as soon after your arrest as possible is to contact an experienced Ventnor, NJ attorney for a criminal arraignment like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Our lawyers have years of experience working with clients facing all sorts of criminal charges bring their case to a successful resolution. We will be there with you every step of the way to guide you through this complex process and answer any questions you may have. For a free consultation, call our office at (609) 616-4956.
The Pre-Arraignment Process in Ventnor, NJ
In the case of certain minor crimes, such as traffic infractions, the police will simply issue you a citation with a court date on it when your arraignment will occur, and then they will let you on their way. Usually when the police suspect you of a crime, however, you are arrested. Sometimes, the police can arrest you on the spot if they have probable cause. Other times, there will be an investigation where the police will apply for an arrest warrant. If the warrant is granted, the police will come to your home or place of work and execute it by arresting you.
After you have been arrested, you will be transported to the local police station for your booking. During the booking process, you will be photographed and fingerprinted and your biographical information collected. After your booking, you will be kept in the station’s holding cell or taken to the local detention center to await your bail hearing, which is usually held within 48 hours of booking.
The Criminal Arraignment in Ventnor, NJ
A criminal arraignment is actually a rather simple proceeding where the charges against you are read, the judge explains your rights in the criminal court system, and you are asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. The arraignment occurs as the first court event in cases involving disorderly persons, New Jersey’s version of misdemeanors. The arraignment in these cases will occur in the municipal court at or around the same time as the bail hearing, so you will need to work quickly to ensure you have retained an attorney to represent you. An experienced arraignment attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych will likely advise you to plead not guilty while we assess the case. If you were issued a ticket and released and you get in contact with us quickly, we may also be able to reach out to the prosecutor and work out a deal for the entire matter to be resolved on the arraignment date.
Whether you are facing a disorderly persons charge or an indictable offense, New Jersey’s version of felonies, your bail hearing will occur quickly after you are arrested. You are going to definitely want an attorney at this hearing, where the judge will decide whether you can be released or if you must remain in jail until your underlying matter is resolved. Since the virtual elimination of cash bail in New Jersey in 2017, judges makes this decision based on a number of factors, including your ties to the community, the nature and severity of the alleged crime, and your prior criminal record. Our experienced bail hearing attorneys know how to make the best argument to get you released.
For indictable offenses, after the bail hearing the prosecutor will take the case before the grand jury, who will review the evidence and decide if there is enough there to issue an indictment. If an indictment is issued, then you will be arraigned in the superior court. Your lawyer is likely to advise you to enter a not guilty plea unless they have already worked out a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor.
The Post-Arraignment Process in Ventnor, NJ
Once the arraignment and bail hearing have been held, your lawyer will begin or continue plea deal negotiations with the prosecutor, if you are interested in a potential deal. If you have a clean criminal record, we may be able to get you into a pre-trial intervention program, where the charges will be dropped if you successfully complete it. If pre-trial intervention is not on the table, we can try to work out a deal where the charges are downgraded or the prosecutor agrees to recommend a more lenient sentence to the judge.
If you do not want to take a deal or are dissatisfied with the deal offered, our skilled trial attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are always ready and able to fight for your innocence at trial. If you are charged with an indictable offense, your trial will take place in the superior court where there is a guaranteed right to a trial by jury. If you are charged with a disorderly persons offense, however, you will have no right to a jury trial, and any trial will take place in the municipal court before a judge alone.
Call Our Skilled Ventnor, NJ Attorneys for a Criminal Arraignment Today
Being charged with a crime is no joke, and if you do not quickly take steps to protect yourself, you could end up facing severe penalties. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our Ventnor, NJ lawyers for a criminal arraignment are here to guide you through this process, from your arrest to you arraignment and beyond. We will leave no stone unturned fighting to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. Call us today at (609) 616-4956 for a free, confidential consultation.