The team of criminal defense attorneys of Young, Marr, and Associates can represent you during your arraignment. The arraignment is a central part of the criminal process in New Jersey, as it is the first time you hear the charges against you and have an attorney present. With the assistance of a skilled attorney representing you, this initial hearing can become a critical juncture in an effective legal strategy.
If you or someone you know needs a New Jersey arraignment attorney, contact the law Young Marr and Associates at (609) 257-4019. Our attorneys are proud of their dedicated and passionate legal representation and will respond to your inquiry, even if there is short notice.
What is an Arraignment in New Jersey?
During an arraignment, criminal defendants must appear before a judge to state their plea of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.” With the assistance of an experienced a criminal defense attorney, your plea will be a well-thought-out and informed decision.
At this hearing, the charges are read out loud along with other rights available in compliance with New Jersey’s criminal procedure rules. The judge will set the schedule moving forward, e.g., for a preliminary hearing, trial, or sentencing.
Beginning Your Criminal Defense Case in New Jersey
If you are charged with multiple crimes, your attorney can begin to proactively advocate on your behalf and seek reduction or dismissal of unsupported criminal charges. An effective criminal defense should begin as early as possible when there is still time to address procedural matters. Your lawyer may discuss your case with the prosecutors and police involved with your case, potentially negotiating a plea arrangement that can involve dropping certain charges or allow you to plead guilty to receive a negotiated sentence.
If you’re accused of a felony, the implications are more serious, and the case will typically be sent to court for a preliminary hearing after your arraignment. Having your attorney present can make a difference by challenging the government’s case against you. If the court does not find probable cause, your case will need to be dismissed.
Don’t Plead Without Seeking Legal Help
At the arraignment, the judge gives you the chance to choose your plea, but the judge is not required to explain the differences between the pleas. Generally, you want to assert your innocence at the arraignment, and any guilty pleas or no contest pleas you enter will be made later after your case as been negotiated with the prosecutor. Generally, you have three options for a plea:
- A “guilty” plea means you admit that you committed the crime as alleged. Your case is over at this point, and you will be scheduled for a sentencing hearing.
- A “not guilty” plea means that you assert your innocence, and the case will proceed to a preliminary hearing or trial where you can challenge the case against you.
- A “no contest” plea indicates you’re not admitting guilt, but won’t fight the charges, either. The consequences of a no-contest plea are practically the same as pleading guilty: you are scheduled for sentencing and your case is over. These pleas can sometimes be helpful if you are entering a plea to get a plea deal, but you do not want to admit guilt that could be used against you in a civil case.
What Happens After the Plea is Entered at Arraignment?
Once the plea is entered in the record, the judge sets the preliminary hearing or trial date. If the defendant is in custody, the defendant has a right to a bail analysis. In New Jersey, all defendants have a right to bail set within 12 hours after a complaint is issued. In most cases, New Jersey’s laws work to eliminate cash bail, which means that you should be released on your own recognizance (ROR) or given bond unless the crime is especially violent or you are a high flight risk.
If someone has ties to the community or no criminal history, released on personal recognizance is typically granted without having to provide for bail. Even if you are released on ROR, the judge will always make sure of the following:
- The defendant’s correct address is on file.
- The defendant knows the charges.
- The defendant has a copy of the criminal complaint detailing the charges.
Your Right to An Attorney in Criminal Cases in NJ
At the arraignment, the judge will also go through your right to an attorney. Typically, you have the right to an attorney you choose – and you can call our attorneys to schedule a free legal consultation and learn more about your charges and the process before you. If you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender may be made available for you.
Our New Jersey Arraignment Attorneys Offer Free Legal Consultations
At Young Marr and Associates, you will have a team of former prosecutors and other experienced attorneys familiar with New Jersey’s laws and procedures in criminal cases. Our attorneys always prioritize your best interests and can guide our clients throughout the process of fighting their case. To learn more about how we can help you, call our New Jersey arraignment attorneys at (609) 257-4019.