Seasoned Defense Attorney Explains New Jersey Criminal Law
What to expect when you’re charged with a crime in New Jersey
An arrest is a frightening and disorienting experience. The more you know about the process, the easier it is to get through it. This page will walk you through the criminal court process in New Jersey, but the most important things to remember is that if you’re arrested:
- Be polite to law enforcement personnel.
- Assert your right to remain silent.
- Assert your right to an attorney.
- Make your call to the Law Office of David Jay Glassman.
We practice in all New Jersey municipal courts and all the county courts, including:
- Atlantic County Superior Court
- Bergen County Superior Court
- Burlington County Superior Court
- Camden County Superior Court
- Cape May County Superior Court
- Essex County Superior Court
- Gloucester County Superior Court
- Hudson County Superior Court
- Hunterdon County Superior Court
- Mercer County Superior Court
- Middlesex County Superior Court
- Monmouth County Superior Court
- Ocean County Superior Court
- Somerset County Superior Court
- Union County Superior Court
For federal crimes, we appear in the District Court for the District of New Jersey and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Representing defendants charged with all types of crimes
Our firm has the experience to defend clients against even the most serious charges. We handle disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors) as well as indictable and nonindictable crimes (felony cases) related to:
- DUI. We represent drivers accused of operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Our DUI defense attorney works to keep you out of jail and to avoid your license being suspended whenever possible.
- Drug crimes. Our firm represents defendants accused of possessing, distributing or manufacturing illegal substances and narcotics. Because of the possibility of jail time, it is essential that you hire an experienced drug crimes defense attorney.
- Juvenile offenses. We provide aggressive and professional advocacy in the juvenile justice system to protect your child’s rights and achieve a resolution that is in your child’s best interests.
- Theft. When you are charged with any type of burglary or theft crime, from shoplifting to auto theft, we can help.
- Violent crimes. We defend clients accused of violent crimes such as assault, robbery, kidnapping and murder.
- Sexual assault. Our firm defends clients facing serious charges ranging from sexual solicitation and prostitution to sexual assault and rape.
- White collar crime. We present a thorough defense to all white collar crime charges, including fraud, identity theft and embezzlement.
- Parole violations. We work to keep our clients out of jail when they are accused of parole violations.
Our understanding of the New Jersey court system helps us defend clients accused of all types of crimes. Additionally, we are able to assist those seeking expungements to clear their record of previous legal encounters.
An overview of the judicial process in the state of New Jersey
New Jersey cases generally follow a series of steps:
- Intake — The defendant is arrested or issued a summons as the result of a police officer complaint, a citizen complaint or a grand jury indictment. Authorities must inform the defendant of his or her constitutional rights at this time.
- First appearance — The defendant comes to court voluntarily to answer the summons or under compulsion following an arrest. Disorderly persons offenses are heard in the municipal court of the locale where the alleged offense took place. Indictable offenses are heard in the superior court of the county where the indictment was issued.
- Bail — State law requires bail to be set within 12 hours of issuance of a complaint. Under the New Jersey constitution, all defendants have a right to bail.
- Substance abuse evaluations — Defendants accused of drug crimes and crimes against property are subjected to interviews and forensic testing to determine if substance abuse or addiction played a role in their commission of an offense.
- Preindictment events — County prosecutors review evidence related to complaints to determine if there is cause to seek an indictment, or if charges should be reduced or dismissed.
- Plea bargaining — Pursuant to the prosecutor’s finding, the county may offer a reduced term of incarceration or probation in exchange for a guilty plea.
- Pretrial intervention program — The county may offer nonviolent first-time offenders the opportunity to avoid incarceration and enter a court-supervised program with counseling and/or community service.
- Grand jury — If county prosecutors do not dismiss or downgrade charges, they present the case to a grand jury to secure an indictment. If a majority of the jurors vote to indict, the jury returns a true bill and the case proceeds. If the majority feels the evidence is lacking, the jury enters a no bill, at which point the case is dismissed.
- Prearraignment conference — Within 21 days of the return of a true bill, the criminal division staff schedules a prearraignment conference. Prior to this conference, the defendant is allowed to examine the evidence the prosecutor has collected. At conference, the defendant may request pretrial intervention, enter plea negotiations or express the desire to plead guilty.
- Arraignment — No later than 50 days after the indictment, the defendant appears for formal notification of the charges. The defendant may plead guilty, continue to negotiate a plea bargain or prepare for trial.
- Pretrial conference — Prosecutors and defense counsel meet again in an attempt to resolve the charges without trial. If no plea agreement is reached, the case proceeds to trial.
- Trial — All accused persons have the right to a jury trial, but may waive that right in favor of a judge alone hearing their case. Counsel for defense can examine all the evidence and witnesses against the defendant. The trial concludes with a verdict of guilty or not guilty, or a mistrial. If the finding is not guilty, the defendant is freed immediately. Upon a guilty verdict, the judge orders a presentence investigation. In the event of a mistrial, the prosecution may start over with a new trial.
- Presentence investigations — Criminal division case supervisors compile a report for the sentencing judge, listing mitigating and aggravating factors.
- Sentencing — The criminal code sets parameters for sentencing, and in most cases judges have discretion, except with crimes that demand mandatory minimum sentences.
- Post-conviction motions — Defendants may appeal decisions the judge made during the course of the trial, such as allowing or barring evidence or testimony. If the Appellate Division decides that a decision was wrong and prejudicial to the outcome of the case, the defendant may be granted the right to a new trial.
You can trust us to be at your side, advocating forcefully at every stage of the proceedings.
Contact an aggressive criminal defense attorney with experience throughout New Jersey
If you face criminal charges, you need the assistance of a skilled and experienced criminal law attorney. The Law Office of David Jay Glassman, with offices in Marlton, Newark, Hackensack, and New Brunswick, provides clients with well-planned defense strategies. Our legal team handles cases throughout New Jersey. To schedule a consultation and evaluation of your case, make our firm the first you call at 866-221-1270 or contact us online.