There are few experiences more frightening than being arrested. Saying the wrong thing to the police could negatively impact your chances of successfully fighting the charges. When the police tell you that “anything you say can and will be used against you,” they mean it.
After being arrested, protecting your Constitutional rights should be your first concern. You will need to be very careful about what you say in the presence of law enforcement as even the smallest admission of guilt will be used against you in court. This can have a profound impact on whether you are convicted and the penalties you receive.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, our Piscataway criminal defense lawyers can help guide you through the judicial process and potentially avoid harsh penalties. For a free case review, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (609) 257-4019.
What to Do After Being Arrested and Charged with a Crime in Piscataway, NJ
While some people are investigated as a suspect in a crime before being arrested, most arrests happen when the police are called to an incident or witness a crime happening in their presence. Regardless of how the arrest occurs, you will need to take certain steps if you hope to protect your rights and, ultimately, your freedom. Understanding your constitutional rights as a suspect in a crime is one of the best ways to defend yourself in the early stages of your prosecution.
After being arrested, you will go through the booking process, where general biographical and identifying information about you is recorded. Answers to questions about basic biographical information should not be incriminating. But be careful that police do not slip in questions relating to the investigation of the crime with your basic informational questions.
After booking, you might be interrogated by police. This is the point where you will be specifically asked about the crime that you were arrested for. Before questioning, however, police must read you your Miranda rights, including your rights to remain silent and right to a defense attorney. State that you would like to invoke these rights and refuse to answer any further questions until you have a lawyer present.
Most importantly, never feel pressured by law enforcement to answer questions. Police might try to intimidate you by telling you that staying silent looks suspicious or that innocent people have nothing to hide. This is a common tactic by police to try to get you to incriminate yourself. Even saying something you think is completely innocent could be used against you in a way you could not predict. Instead, invoke your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney clearly, then speak with our Piscataway criminal defense lawyers for advice on what to do next.
Levels of Criminal Charges in Piscataway, NJ
New Jersey criminal charges are divided into three categories depending on the severity of the crime. The penalty for the crime will correspond to the severity level of the offense. Our Piscataway criminal defense lawyers can help you understand the charges against you and how to fight them.
Indictable crimes are the most severe types of crimes and are divided into four degrees. The penalty for each degree will correspond to its rank, with first-degree offenses representing the most serious crimes and fourth-degree crimes representing less serious offenses. For example, if you are convicted of a first-degree offense, the sentence can range from 10-20 years in prison. Individuals convicted of a second-degree crime can be incarcerated for five to ten years. Sentences for third-degree offenses are three to five years, and fourth-degree crimes can be sentenced anywhere up to 18 months in prison.
Disorderly persons offenses are lower-level offenses than indictable offenses and are equivalent to a misdemeanor in other jurisdictions. These types of criminal offenses are not technically “crimes” and do not require incarceration in state prison. They can, however, be punished with up six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Petty disorderly persons offenses represent the lowest level of offenses in New Jersey. They are essentially the same as summary offenses in other jurisdictions and include offenses like disorderly conduct, simple assault, and harassment. The conviction of a petty disorderly persons offense can carry a penalty of a $500 fine and a month in jail. Our Piscataway criminal defense lawyers can help you determine the penalties you might face depending on the severity of your charges.
Legal Strategies Used to Defend You in Your Criminal Proceedings in Piscataway, NJ
There are several legal strategies our Piscataway criminal defense lawyers can employ to defend you from the state’s charges.
When evidence is being used against you in court, that evidence can be challenged and potentially kept out of your criminal proceedings. A motion to suppress can be filed to prevent any evidence that was seized illegally from being used in your trial. Also, irrelevant, overly prejudicial, inflammatory, or otherwise inadmissible evidence can also be suppressed.
Witnesses testifying against you can also be challenged. Our Piscataway criminal defense lawyers will cross-examine witnesses testifying on the stand. If a witness is being dishonest, cross-examination can reveal that aspect to show the jury in your criminal trial that the witness is not to be trusted.
Depending on your case, you might be offered a plea deal by the prosecution before proceeding to trial. In a plea deal, you agree to plead guilty to reduced charges in exchange for a potentially lighter penalty than you would have been sentenced to if convicted at trial. Plea deals usually have many stringent conditions that the defendant must follow, but it might be better than taking your chances in court if the likelihood of winning your case is low. Our Piscataway criminal defense lawyers can discuss your plea deal with you to help decide if a plea is the best option for your defense.
Our Piscataway, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Help
If the police arrested you and charged you with a crime, our Piscataway criminal defense lawyers can help protect your rights. Contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane today at (609) 257-4019 for a free case evaluation.