Being accused of a crime can have life-altering consequences. Although you are presumed innocent until found guilty, the criminal allegations alone could harm your reputation. If you are convicted of the offense, you could be sent to jail or prison, and you may be required to pay steep fines. On top of that, living the life you once lived after you’ve completed your sentence can be challenging. A criminal record can make it difficult to get a job, find a house, or even qualify for government assistance.
Because the State takes criminal charges seriously, it harshly prosecutes these matters and will use the resources at its disposal to land a conviction. Attempting to handle your case without the assistance of an experienced attorney can be challenging. Instead of going it alone, allow our team at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. to provide the effective counsel you need. We have extensive experience practicing law, we know the ins and outs of the legal processes, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights and freedoms of the accused. When you retain our services, we will be committed to working toward getting charges reduced or dropped and minimizing the effects of potential conviction penalties on your life.
Discuss your circumstances during a free initial consultation by calling us at (201) 254-8484.
What Happens When Someone Is Charged with a Crime in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, when a person is accused of committing a crime they may go through various processes in the criminal justice system.
Filing a Complaint
The process begins when either law enforcement or a citizen will file a complaint against the person. The complaint states the reason the individual is being charged and what specific law they are alleged to have violated.
Numerous offenses are listed in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, and are classified based on their severity:
- First-degree: Such offenses include, but are not limited to, murder, manslaughter, and aggravated sexual assault. The prison sentence for a conviction includes 10 to 20 years in prison.
- Second-degree: Crimes under this classification include, but are not limited to, sexual assault, robbery, and burglary. Conviction penalties include 5 to 10 years in prison.
- Third-degree: Offenses in this class include, but are not limited to, shoplifting (items valued between $501 and $74,999), terroristic threats, and unlawful possession of a rifle or shotgun. If convicted, a person could face between 3 and 5 years in prison.
- Fourth-degree: These offenses include, but are not limited to, crimes such as criminal mischief (resulting in monetary losses between $501 and $1,999), shoplifting (items worth between $200 and $500), cyber-harassment (if the actor was 21 years of age or older and impersonated a minor to harass a minor). A conviction carries with it up to 18 months in jail.
- Disorderly persons offense: This classification includes crimes such as simple assault, shoplifting (items valued less than $200), and criminal mischief (resulting in a loss of $500 or less). A conviction could result in a person spending up to 6 months in jail.
- Petty disorderly persons offense: Crimes in this classification include, but are not limited to, disorderly conduct, simple assault (when individuals consensually enter into a fight or scuffle), and harassment. If convicted, the individual could be put in jail for up to 30 days.
Making an Arrest
Depending on the circumstances, the person could be arrested at the scene of the crime or based on a warrant.
Attending a First Appearance
After law enforcement makes an arrest, the accused will be scheduled for their first appearance.
During the proceeding, the judge may:
- Determine conditions for pretrial release (if the defendant is eligible),
- Order pretrial detention (in specific cases), or
- Set bail
Appearing for an Arraignment
Before the trial begins, the accused will be required to appear for an arraignment, where they are told of the formal charges. At this time, they may also enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. If they admit to committing the offense, a presentencing investigation may begin before penalties are imposed.
Negotiating a Plea Bargain
Before the actual trial begins, the prosecutor and defense attorney may enter into plea negotiations. During this part of the process, the defendant could plead guilty in exchange for a lesser charge or reduced sentencing.
Going to Trial
If the case goes to trial, it will be heard by either a judge or jury. During this phase, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime. At the same time, the defense attorney may challenge the prosecutor’s evidence to argue for their client’s innocence.
Protecting the Rights of the Accused
The criminal justice system is complex, and various rules must be followed at each stage. A mistake made at any one of the steps could result in serious consequences. For instance, failing to show up for a first appearance could result in the judge issuing a warrant for arrest. That is why it is crucial to have a lawyer on your side who can help you understand the processes and how to move forward. At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C., our criminal defense attorney has effectively handled numerous cases, and we have an extensive understanding of the legal system. We will provide dedicated representation from the beginning of your case until its conclusion, answering your questions and informing you of your rights.
Our lawyers provide legal defense for various crimes, including:
In addition to delivering fierce representation for offenses, we can also guide you through the process of clearing your criminal record, known as an expungement.
Custom Solutions Backed By Aggressive Defense
When you turn to the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C., you can count on our devoted team to aggressively fight for a favorable resolution on your behalf. We consult with our clients to create custom-tailored solutions to meet their needs. We also provide them with a comprehensive understanding of the charges they’re facing, in order to help them make informed decisions for their legal matters. Backed by over 15 years of experience defending the accused in court, and the negotiation of pleas, our trained legal staff takes a calculated and tactical approach in choosing the most effective defense strategies for our clients.
Request a free consultation with our proven legal team. Contact us at (201) 254-8484 to get started today.
Our skilled attorneys are capable of handling various areas of criminal defense, from violent and drug-related offenses to property and public-related crimes. The potential criminal conviction that’s threatening your rights might come with some serious repercussions, including impaired abilities to secure employment, enroll in college, and receive approval on a housing application. For this reason, it’s crucial to hire a proven defense attorney dedicated to keeping you from behind bars.
Facing criminal charges? Don’t try to handle your legal matters alone, and don’t talk with the police before speaking with an insightful criminal defense attorney in New Jersey. Put the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. on your side! Building your trust becomes our first order of business when you choose our firm.
- We have decades of experience handling personal injury and criminal defense cases.
- We have earned the respect of our peers and the legal community of New Jersey.
- We care about you and your unique situation, providing personalized legal representation.
- We will keep you informed throughout your case for you to make the best decisions.
- When it comes to negotiations, our experience works directly to your benefit.
- While most cases settle before trial, we're not afraid of going to trial for you.
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