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What You Need to Know After an Arrest in New Jersey

Advice from a New Jersey Defense Attorney – After Arrest Legal Procedure in New Jersey

After arrest, a person is either released on a Summons or is held on a Warrant. A warrant requires him/her to post bail. A judge sets bail, and the individual (defendant) is brought before a judge. This usually happens on the next business day. The charges are read to him/her and the person is told that he/she has a right to hire a New Jersey defense attorney.  If he/she cannot afford one, then he/she is entitled to the services of a public defender. The person is also warned that anything he/she says can be used against him/her.

Defendants charged with crimes (felony) have their bail reviewed by a superior court judge on the next business day. An attorney can file a bail motion to reduce the bail on behalf of a defendant. Depending on the county, the bail motion will be heard either that week or the following week.

An experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney can frequently call the prosecutors office. If he or she has a good relationship with that office, he or she can arrange for a lower bail by consent with the prosecutor’s office. This saves the client a week or more in jail that the client would otherwise wait for a bail motion to be heard.  A juvenile (a person under 18 years old) can be held without bail. The decision on whether to release the juvenile is reviewed the next business day and periodically thereafter.

What Your New Jersey Defense Attorneys Will Do for You After an Arrest

Crimes (felonies) are reviewed by the County Prosecutor’s Office. This office determines whether to:

  • Take the case to the Grand Jury and proceed in Superior Court;
  • Dismiss; or
  • Send the case back to Municipal Court.

An experienced New Jersey criminal law lawyer will contact the prosecutor’s office early. An aggressive defense attorney will present the prosecutor with positive information about the client and attempt to obtain a pre-indictment discovery. The attorney can decide to present the prosecutor with information to:

  • Counter the state’s case;
  • Give information that mitigates the involvement of the client; or
  • Demonstrates the client’s innocence where applicable.

The experienced NJ attorney will make an important recommendation as to whether to have the client testify before a grand jury (the attorney must ask the prosecutor to allow the client to testify) based on various factors including but not limited to:

  • The strength of the state’s proofs;
  • The proofs that the defense can provide through the client;
  • The client’s ability to make a good impression and personality; and
  • The attorney’s knowledge about the prosecutor presenting the case to the grand jury.

An experienced aggressive attorney will often use the services of an experienced expert early in the case. The expert may be an investigator, an engineer, doctor, psychologist, retired policeman, or others to help develop the client’s case or defense. It is very important to find a good defense lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights.

Questions Answered by Experienced New Jersey Defense Attorneys

The law is not easy to understand. Here are some of the questions our New Jersey criminal lawyers answer the most. Remember, we're here to help with your state and federal arrests

What if the police did not read my Miranda rights?

If the police failed to read your Miranda rights, this could mean that you are entitled to have certain evidence withheld from your criminal case. But, it could also mean nothing at all.

The police are not required to read your Miranda rights when they arrest you. The obligation to read your rights applies only before you are interrogated in custody. If you spoke to the police (including answering their questions) under circumstances in which you were free to leave, the police were not required to read your rights, and anything you said can be used against you. On the other hand, if you were in custody when the police questioned you, their failure to read your rights could provide grounds to have your answers suppressed from evidence at trial.

However, this suppression does not happen automatically. In a criminal case, it is up to you to protect your rights. You will need to raise the failure to read your Miranda rights in court; and, in order to do this, you will need to hire experienced New Jersey defense lawyers to file a motion on your behalf.

What should I do if the police have asked me to come in for questioning?

If the police have asked you to come in for questioning, this could mean one of two things: either (i) the police believe you may have information about a crime, or (ii) you are the target of an ongoing criminal investigation. In either case, you need to very careful about saying anything to the police. Even if you are currently being treated as a witness, your statements to the police could trigger an investigation. You should exercise your right to counsel, and you should talk to an attorney before you go in for questioning. It may also be best for you to go to the police station with your attorney.

Do the police have to tell me if I am a suspect in a criminal investigation?

No, when the police question you, they do not have to tell you that you are a suspect in their investigation. The police use a variety of tactics to solicit information from witnesses and suspects, and this includes withholding information about the scope and status of their investigation.

Can I go to jail for possessing a firearm in New Jersey?

Yes. Unlawful possession of a firearm (i.e. possession of a banned firearm or possession of a lawful firearm without an appropriate license or permit) is an indictable offense under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. Depending upon the specific weapon involved, unlawful possession can be prosecuted as a second, third or fourth-degree indictable offense. Many firearm convictions, including having a gun without a New Jersey permit, can carry mandatory prison sentences, some for up to 10 year in prison without parole eligibility for up to 5 years in prison.   

What is parole supervision for life?

In New Jersey, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and certain other sex-related offenses carry the penalty of parole supervision for life (in addition to the various other penalties that are applicable to sex-related offenses). If you are convicted, once you serve out your mandatory prison sentence, you will become eligible for parole like other convicted offenders. However, unlike other convicted offenders, your parole sentence will last the rest of your life, and you will be subject to requirements and restrictions that do not apply to ordinary parole.

When can you claim self-defense in New Jersey?

Technically called “self-protection” in New Jersey, the law of self-defense allows for the use of reasonable force when, “such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting [yourself] against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.” If you need to rely on self-protection to avoid conviction, you will want to work with a New Jersey criminal lawyer who has specific experience asserting this defense.

What are some other potential defenses to criminal charges in New Jersey?

There are numerous potential defenses to criminal charges in New Jersey. This includes defenses that exist under state statutes and court decisions, as well as defenses based upon the fundamental protections of the U.S. Constitution. While the specific defenses you have available will be determined by the unique facts and circumstances of your case, some examples of commonly-asserted defenses include:

  • Failure to meet the prosecution’s burden of proof
  • Non-voluntary intoxication
  • Diminished capacity
  • Duress
  • Necessity
  • Violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures
  • Violation of the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination
  • Violation of the Fifth Amendment protection against double jeopardy
  • Violation of the Sixth Amendment right to a fair and speedy public trial

What should I do if I was arrested for possession of medical marijuana?

While New Jersey has not yet joined the list of states that have legalized recreational marijuana, the New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act allows for use of medical marijuana as a form of treatment for multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness (including cancer). If you were arrested for marijuana possession and you have the legal right to use marijuana, our New Jersey defense attorneys can use this to defend you.

What are my rights if the prosecution is withholding evidence in my case?

If the prosecutor’s office is in possession of evidence that is favorable to your defense, you have the right to see this evidence under the Fifth Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court established this right in the case of Brady v. Maryland and withholding of material evidence by the prosecution is commonly referred to as a “Brady violation.” If you believe that the prosecutor’s office is withholding evidence in your case, this is absolutely an issue that you should discuss with your New Jersey defense attorney.

Arrested for a Crime in New Jersey? Call Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. Today

Since New Jersey prosecutors aggressively pursue criminal charges, trying to defend yourself or thinking you can talk your way out of it can be a catastrophic mistake. Fighting these charges requires the help of a top New Jersey criminal defense attorney who has the experience and skill to prepare a thorough and aggressive defense in a very short amount of time. Please call 1-877-435-6371 or contact us online today for a free consultation.

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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