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Criminal Defense – Understanding Your Rights

Fighting for your rights every step of the way

One of the fundamental tenets of our judicial system is that even individuals who have been arrested and charged with violating criminal laws in New Jersey retain certain legal rights.

This page is intended to provide advice regarding the legal rights of those who have been charged with criminal offenses. This page is not intended to replace legal counsel.

Understand your legal rights

If the police take you into custody, you have the following rights:

  • To remain silent;
  • To know the charges against you;
  • To know the allowable penalties against you;
  • To hire a lawyer or to have one appointed for you if you cannot afford one; and
  • To have a decision from a judge on whether you should be released from jail until your trial.

The police may ask for your name, address, and other basic questions. Before asking you any questions, the police must inform you of your right to remain silent and that any statements you make may be used as evidence against you. You may choose to remain silent or ask for a lawyer at any time.

In matters of New Jersey criminal law, your silence cannot be used as evidence against you. But anything you say, write or sign can be used as evidence against you.

Remember to verbally request a lawyer. Unless you do so, the police may continue to question you with no legal counsel present. The moment you request an attorney, rather than merely refuse to answer questions, all police questioning must cease unless you later decide to talk without legal counsel present.

Misdemeanors – Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are charged with a misdemeanor rather than a felony, you have fewer legal rights. If you will not face imprisonment upon conviction, you do not have a right to a lawyer, to an indictment by grand jury, or to an examination in order to review your charges.

A New Jersey criminal law firm can help

If you face criminal charges in New Jersey, and choose to obtain legal counsel, contact the New Jersey criminal defense law firm of Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, PA. We understand the nuances and protocols of the criminal court process in New Jersey. This allows us to guide our clients through the potentially hazardous maze of New Jersey criminal law.

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.