A trip to Atlantic City is usually filled with fun and excitement at the casinos, bars, and beaches. However, a dream trip can quickly turn to a nightmare if things get out of control and you are arrested for a crime. It can become extremely disorienting to be arrested in a place like Atlantic City when you are on vacation and do not know the area well. You may not know where you are being taken or what the next steps will be. Having a competent criminal lawyer for arrests in Atlantic City like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can help guide you during this troubling situation. Below, our lawyers explain the Atlantic City arrest process.

Where You Are Taken for Booking After an Arrest in Atlantic City

After you have been arrested in Atlantic City, you will go through a process known as “booking.” During the booking process, the police will take down your biographical information and conduct a search of your person. Any personal effects you have on you at the time of your arrest, such as a cell phone, will be taken into police custody while you are detained. The police will also take your fingerprints and take a photograph of you during booking.

There are two places you may be taken for the booking process in New Jersey. Sometimes, they may conduct the booking process at the Atlantic City Police Department’s headquarters at 2715 Atlantic Avenue, which can be contacted by calling (609) 347-5300. If the booking process takes place here, you may simply be kept in the holding cell until you are released with a summons or sent before a judge for a detention hearing.

Other times, you may be transported to the Atlantic County holding facility at the Gerard L. Gormley Justice Facility, which also serves as the county jail. This facility is located at 5060 Atlantic Ave in Mays Landing, NJ, and the phone number is (609) 645-5855. If you are booked here, you will also likely be held here until your release.

How Long Are You Held in Atlantic City Before A Bail Hearing?

Typically, detention is not requested for what are known as “disorderly persons offenses” in New Jersey. These are minor crimes, such as underage drinking, that are akin to misdemeanors in other states. If you are charged with a disorderly persons offense, you will most likely be released after booking and given a summons to appear in the Atlantic City Municipal Court on the date of your arraignment. In these cases you may need to contact a New Jersey disorderly conduct lawyer.

For indictable offenses, which are akin to felonies in other states, you will likely be held in detention for up to 48 hours while the state gathers background information on you and schedules a detention hearing before a judge. In 2017, New Jersey passed a law virtually eliminating cash bail, which means that judges now make their decisions in detention hearings based on a holistic view of the person and the severity of the crime they are alleged to have committed.

It is extremely important that you have a skilled bail hearing lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych to argue on your behalf at the detention hearing. You do not want to risk the possibility of being held in the detention center for the entirety of your criminal case, which could take months or even years depending on its complexity. You also do not want the judge to release you with difficult conditions, such as wearing an ankle bracelet with a GPS monitor. Our lawyers know the factors the judge will consider, such as your ties to the community through family and employment, your previous criminal record, and your flight risk. We understand how to make a compelling argument to keep you free without embarrassing conditions.

The Criminal Process in Atlantic City after a Bail Hearing

The next steps in the criminal process will depend on whether you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense or an indictable offense. If you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, your case will be handled through the Atlantic City Municipal Court. You will have an arraignment there where your charges and rights are read to you and you will plead guilty or not guilty. Your lawyer will likely advise you to plead not guilty so they can collect evidence and work out a potential plea bargain with the prosecutor. If you choose to take the case to trial, a judge in the municipal court will decide the case. You do not have the right to a jury trial for a disorderly persons offense.

For an indictable offense, the prosecutor will take the case before a grand jury of 23 citizens who must, by a majority vote, approve the charges against you based on the evidence the police have collected. If the charges are approved, an indictment will be issued. At this point, your case will be sent to the Atlantic County Superior Court where it will be handled for the rest of its duration.

With indictable offenses, you do have the right to a trial by a jury of your peers. Unlike a grand jury, this jury can only convict you by a unanimous vote. If you are found guilty, you will proceed to a sentencing hearing. An experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can help make the case that you do not deserve severe penalties such as a long jail sentence.

If You Are Worried about Potential Jail Time in Your Criminal Matter, Call Us Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one has been arrested on a trip to Atlantic City, you are likely to be incredibly overwhelmed and confused about what steps to take next. Our seasoned criminal lawyers for those arrested in Cape May at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can help simplify the process for you and ensure you are advised about the best steps to take to bring your case to a successful resolution. Call us today at (609) 616-4956 for a free consultation.