Being arrested for a crime can turn a fun weekend getaway to Wildwood, NJ from a dream vacation into a total nightmare. However, it is not at all uncommon for someone on the shore to have a little too much to drink and for things to get out of hand, leading to an arrest. Being arrested can be a confusing and scary experience, especially if you have no experience with the criminal justice system and have no idea what is coming next. When you are told that an arraignment will be held for you, you may be unsure what this means.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our experienced Wildwood, NJ attorneys for a criminal arraignment are here to help you navigate through the complex process of being charged with a crime and to work to bring your case to the most successful possible resolution. From your arraignment and bail hearing all the way to a trial if necessary, we will be here answering all your questions and serving as your fearless advocate. For a free consultation, call our firm today at (609) 616-4956.
What Happens Leading Up to a Wildwood, NJ Criminal Arraignment?
Sometimes, for minor crimes like disorderly conduct or underage drinking, the police may simply issue you a citation with a date on it for your arraignment and let you go on your way. If this occurs to you, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away so we can try to get in touch with the prosecutor and work out a deal for the entire case to be resolved on the arraignment date. In most cases where the police believe that you have committed a crime, however, you will be arrested.
After your arrest, you will be taken to the local police station for what is known as the booking process. During this process, you will be photographed and fingerprinted and your biographical information will be collected. Then, you will be kept in the station’s holding cell or at the local jail until your bail hearing can be held, usually within 72 hours. You will definitely want to have an experienced Wildwood, NJ bail hearing attorney fight for you at this proceeding, where a judge will make a decision about whether you and how you can be released.
When Are Criminal Arraignments Held?
The timing of the arraignment will depend on the type of crime that you have been charged with. For disorderly person offenses, New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor, or petty disorderly persons offenses, New Jersey’s version of an infraction, the arraignment will be the first court event. If you are being held in jail, it will occur at or around the same time as your bail hearing. If not, it will occur usually within a few weeks to a month of your citation being issued. For indictable offenses, New Jersey’s version of felonies, the arraignment will occur later, after the bail hearing and a potential preliminary hearing, and after a grand jury has issued an indictment.
How Criminal Arraignments Work in Wildwood, NJ
A criminal arraignment is actually a fairly short and simple proceeding, at least most of the time. At the arraignment, the judge will read the charges against you, tell you about your rights during a criminal case, and ask you to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. It is also usually where your lawyer will make their first appearance on your behalf. It is important to have a skilled Wildwood, NJ attorney for a criminal arraignment like those on the team at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych advising you at this hearing, as we are likely to recommend that you enter an initial plea of not guilty while we collect more evidence and assess the strength of the case against you.
What Happens After a Wildwood, NJ Criminal Arraignment?
Once you have been arraigned and your plea has been entered, your lawyer will likely begin to focus on negotiating a potential deal with the prosecutor to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. For minor crimes and those without extensive criminal records, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to allow you into what is known as a pre-trial diversion program. If you successfully complete this program, which might contain such components as attending counseling or drug rehab and staying out of further trouble with the law, the charges against you will be dropped and you will not have a criminal record.
In cases where pre-trial diversion is not on the table, there are other possible deals we can try to work out. Sometimes, the prosecutor might be willing to downgrade the charge to something less serious, such as changing an aggravated assault charge to a simple assault charge, in exchange for you entering a guilty plea and saving the state the time and cost of a trial. Other times, the prosecutor may offer to make a lenient sentencing recommendation to the judge, which the judge will almost always accept.
If you do not wish to take a deal or are not satisfied with the deal offered, our skilled trial lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are always ready and able to fight for a not guilty verdict at trial. If you are charged with an indictable offense, you are entitled to a jury trial, where the twelve jurors must vote unanimously in order to convict. For disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses, however, you are only entitled to a municipal court trial before a single judge who decides guilt or innocence on their own.
Call Our Skilled Wildwood, NJ Lawyers for a Criminal Arraignment Today
It is important that you or a loved one contact a battle-tested Wildwood, NJ lawyer for a criminal arraignment like those on the team at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon after your arrest as possible. Important events like the bail hearing and the arraignment, where you will want representation, can occur fairly quickly after you have been taken into custody. Once we have dealt with the arraignment and bail hearing, we can work to get the underlying charges downgraded or dismissed. For a free consultation, call our office at (609) 616-4956 today.