Criminal Defense Attorneys in Hamilton, NJ
Many people find themselves at a crossroads when being charged with a criminal offense. That’s because there’s more than one path to take, and attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates understand it’s crucial to make strategic steps to guard your rights and seek the best possible outcome in your case. They also understand that no two cases are the same and while one path may be the best option for one client, it’s not necessarily the best course of action for another client.
You need an attorney who will stand in the trenches with you and fight for your rights. Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony charges, our experienced attorneys and staff are devoted to providing our clients with premier services. We have a diverse group of attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates who are ready to assist you, no matter what your criminal law needs are.
The legal process can be difficult to understand, which is why we take the time to educate our clients on their legal rights and advise them on the best course of action. We’ve been assisting clients for more than 20 years and have extensive knowledge and experience in criminal, family law, bankruptcy and a wide range of civil litigation. Our attorneys are dedicated to treating each case, each person with the respect and expertise they deserve.
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What is Criminal Law?
Criminal law is in place to protect society as a whole and punish the people who are at fault. When someone is charged with a crime it’s because police have enough evidence against them to believe they committed a crime.
But not everyone who is charged with a crime is guilty. Sometimes there are misunderstandings or miscommunications. Whether you are guilty or not, it’s important to understand what you’re being charged with, why you are being charged with it and what your rights are.
You have a right to legal counsel from a criminal defense attorney if you’ve been charged with a crime. This is important because without adequate representation, the balance of power within the justice system would become skewed in favor of government.
Our criminal defense lawyers often settle a case out of court by negotiating with prosecutors. Through negotiating with prosecutors outside of court, we may also be able to reduce your charges and penalties.
In general, Criminal Law asks and seeks to answer the following questions:
- Did the person charged commit the crime?
- What crime did they commit?
- Do they have a defense?
Whether you face a felony or you’re fighting a simple traffic violation, at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, we do our best to get you the treatment and compensation you deserve!
Different types of criminal law
Criminal law divides crimes into two main categories, felonies and misdemeanors. The main difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the severity of the crime, with a felony being the more serious of the two. What is considered to be a severe crime will vary from state to state. Both felonies and misdemeanors can be committed against people, property, or the state. Once again, though, the difference is the severity of the crime. The punishments for a felony and misdemeanor differ greatly. Felonies tend to involve prison sentences of a year or more, fines, or a combination of both. Misdemeanors typically involve prison sentences of less than a year and smaller fines. Misdemeanors also frequently result in alternative sentencing, such as community service or rehabilitation programs. Very serious felonies can warrant the death penalty.
Some examples of felony crimes include murder, rape, terroristic threats, burglary, kidnapping, or arson. Some examples of misdemeanor crimes include simple assault, disorderly conduct, first DUI/DWI, trespassing, solicitation and vandalism.
Federal vs. State Prosecution
The rules change depending on whether the crime is charged in State or Federal Court. Most criminal matters are dealt with in state courts unless the crime occurred on federal property, a federal employee committed the crime, or the criminal activity affects interstate commerce. For the government to have power to regulate behavior, it must have “jurisdiction,” which means the crime occurs within a state’s boundaries, violates a state’s laws, and therefore gives that state the power to prosecute. Likewise, a crime that occurs on federal property authorizes the federal government to deal with the suspect. Some crimes violate both state and federal law, which enables both governments to bring criminal charges.
What should I expect when being charged with a crime?
Before you speak with the police or any officer of the court about claims of wrongdoing, it’s a good idea to have a criminal lawyer present to defend your rights.
An attorney can help you in the following criminal situations:
- If you are arrested, you can ask for your attorney to be called to the police station.
- A lawyer will identify and explain your rights after you are detained by the police.
- An attorney can work for the arrangement of a bail.
- Your legal representative will explain and take all the necessary legal action.
- Your attorney will give you information about what to expect if you face criminal charges.
For either a felony or misdemeanor offense, your first court hearing will be called an initial appearance (arraignment). At the initial appearance, the judge will read and if necessary explain the charges filed against you. You will also be advised of your right to legal representation. If you’ve requested counsel or counsel has been appointed, or if you indicate that private counsel will be retained, a plea of not guilty is entered. If you enter a not guilty plea, a trial date will be set.
If you plead guilty, either a date will be set for sentencing or the magistrate or judge will impose probation, fines or other sentences immediately. In some cases, the judge or magistrate may allow a defendant to plead nolo contendere, or no contest. In many jurisdictions, a plea of no contest is equivalent to a guilty plea, except the defendant is not directly admitting guilt.
If you plead not guilty, the judge or magistrate typically sets the amount of bail.
For a felony, you would not enter a plea. The matter is set for preliminary hearing to establish if a crime has been committed and if there is probable cause to believe that you committed the offense(s). The judge or magistrate will also set the amount of bail, if applicable.
During the preliminary hearing, the government must demonstrate to a judge or magistrate that there is sufficient evidence, or probable cause that you committed the crime. If the court finds there is no probable cause, the matter is dismissed. If probable cause is established, the case is transferred to trial court.
With the support of a criminal lawyer, you can raise questions about the basis of the charges you face, and the handling of testimony, evidence and police and court procedures.
If you would like to set up an appointment with a criminal law attorney at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, please contact us at (609) 755-3115.
We are in Mercer County at 1544 Kuser Rd., Bldg. A, Unit 9 Hamilton, NJ 08619, near Kuser Plaza.