Being arrested or cited for a crime can be a terrifying and confusing experience, especially if you do not have previous experience dealing with law enforcement or the criminal justice system. When you hear discussion of a detention hearing or an arraignment, you might have no clue what any of this means. However, you are not helpless in this situation. The best thing you can do to protect your rights and keep yourself from facing the most serious potential penalties like jail time is to contact a skilled Atlantic County attorney for a criminal arraignment like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych as soon as possible. The quicker you get in touch with us, the quicker we can get to work on getting the charges against you downgraded or dismissed. Below, we explain what happens at a criminal arraignment in Atlantic County, including whether you can and will be sent to jail from the arraignment, and how we can help you at your arraignment and beyond.

When Does the Arraignment Occur in an Atlantic County, NJ Criminal Case?

For some petty disorderly persons offenses and minor disorderly persons offenses, the officer may simply issue you a citation and send you on your way. The citation will either have a court date for your arraignment on it or you will receive a summons in the mail shortly thereafter with such a court date. It will usually occur within about 2 weeks, but can sometimes be delayed. As soon as you receive the citation, reach out to a skilled criminal arraignment attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. We can try to work with the prosecutor to get a deal worked out ahead of time so the entire matter can be resolved on the date of your arraignment.

If you have been arrested, as is the case in most instances where the police believe you have committed a crime, you will be transported the police station and booked. The initial appearance, including the arraignment in disorderly persons cases, usually occurs within 48 hours at most after your arrest and booking. The detention hearing, where the judge will decide if you must remain in jail or be released, typically occurs at or around the same time. This is why it is so vital to reach out quickly to an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, so that we can be prepared to represent you at these important early events that will set the tone of your case.

In indictable offense cases, the arraignment will not occur at the initial appearance. Instead, it will be held later, in the superior court, once a grand jury has officially returned an indictment.

Can You Be Sent to Jail at a Criminal Arraignment in Atlantic County?

arr arraignment is where you are asked to enter an initial plea of guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, it is possible that you can be sent to jail on the same day. However, there is usually a separate sentencing hearing that will occur at a later date where your lawyer can argue that mitigating factors show that you deserve leniency. Unless we have already worked out a deal with the prosecutor, your Atlantic City criminal arraignment lawyer is almost always going to advise you to plead not guilty at the arraignment, whether it is a disorderly persons or indictable offense case, so that we can have time to collect all the evidence and assess the strength of the prosecutor’s case.

If you plead not guilty, your main concern will be with the detention hearing, where a judge can in fact decide to order you held in jail until the underlying charges are resolved. Since the virtual elimination of cash bail in NJ, the judge makes this decision based on a set of holistic factors, including the nature and severity of the charges against you, your criminal record or lack thereof, and your ties to the local community. Our experienced Atlantic County detention hearing attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can make the most persuasive arguments to get you released without cumbersome conditions like wearing a GPS ankle monitor.

How Can a Skilled Atlantic County Criminal Defense Lawyer Help with the Rest of My Case?

Once we deal with getting you released form jail, we will turn our attentions to getting the charges against you downgraded or dismissed so that you do not end up right back behind bars. In some cases where you are a first-time offender, we may be able to convince the prosecutor to let you into a pre-trial intervention program, which, if completed successfully, will result in the dropping of the charges against you. In other cases, we may be able to work out a deal for the prosecutor to recommend a lenient sentence to the judge, such as probation with no jail time, in exchange for you entering a guilty plea and saving the state the time and cost of putting on a trial. If you do not want to take a deal, our battle-tested Wildwood criminal arraignment lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych are ready and able to fight for a not guilty verdict in the courtroom.

If You Have Been Arrested or Cited and Face an Arraignment, Call Our Criminal Defense Team Today

Although you will usually not go to jail straight from your arraignment, it is nonetheless an important early part of your case. It is vital that you have an experienced Atlantic City criminal defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by your side at this hearing and the detention hearing to ensure you enter the right plea and are released to the safety of your home. Then, we will fight to get your charges downgraded or dismissed and to bring the matter to the best possible resolution for you and your future. For a free consultation, call (609) 616-4956 today.