Facing criminal charges can feel daunting, and overwhelming. Thankfully, criminal lawyers can offer assistance to those facing misdemeanors and felonies alike. If you or a loved one are in need of legal aid for a criminal offense, contact an experienced attorney at Rispoli & Borneo P.C. today for a free consultation.
What happens following an arrest?
While every state may differ on the details of what follows an arrest, in New Jersey, the following typically occurs.
A first appearance is scheduled within 48 hours of an arrest. During the first appearance, the judge sets the conditions for release and will establish bail or detainment until the time of the trial takes place. Complying during the first appearance is important, and a criminal lawyer is there to assist their clients in what to say, and not say during this meeting with the judge.
After the first appearance, evidence will be gathered and prosecutors will decide if the client’s case proceeds further. The prosecutor assigned to the case has the authority to reduce charges, continue with the charges that have been filed, and even dismiss the charges altogether. During this time, experienced attorneys advocate on behalf of their clients and try to sway the prosecution to dismiss or lessen the charges. This is referred to as pre-indictment proceedings in the legal system.
Plea Bargaining is the third step following an arrest. During plea bargaining, criminal attorneys strive to negotiate their client’s case while avoiding a trial. The prosecutor and the client’s lawyer will discuss and come to an agreement on the charges, dismissing some or all of them, the maximum potential sentence, and reduction of time spent in jail or on probation barring the client pleading guilty. Having a skilled attorney whom clients can trust is vital for this step of the legal process as their case and future depend on it.
If the client does not agree to a plea bargain, the case will go to trial in front of a grand jury of 23 people. If the jury determines that there is enough evidence for the case to move forward, the client will be indicted and an arraignment set within the next 14 days. A client still has the right to a plea bargain at this time, and up until the trial begins. Listening to the counsel of a criminal lawyer is vital during this step, as they understand the complexities and nuances of the court and legal system.
The fifth and final step following an arrest is the criminal trial and sentencing of the client. If a resolution has not been met by the trial date, the prosecution will present its case against the client. Following the prosecution, the client and attorney will present a defense. If a client is convicted, a pre-sentence investigation will be ordered by the judge, and the guilty party will be sentenced upon the investigation’s ruling. However, the client will be released if they are found to be not guilty of the crime. Rest assured, that a skilled attorney may be able to change the course of their client’s case, and impact their future in doing so. Contact a criminal lawyer today and provide yourself the best chance you can.