New Jersey Criminal Charges
Getting arrested and charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. If this has happened to you or a loved one, it is absolutely crucial to remember that anyone charged with a crime has legal rights–among these rights is the right to an attorney.
If you or someone you care about is facing a criminal charge of any kind in New Jersey, you will want to obtain skilled legal representation who will be by your side through the entire criminal process. Contact the experienced attorneys at Sarofiem & Antoun, LLC today to discuss how we can help you protect your rights and provide an aggressive defense in your case.
What to do If You Are Arrested?
Most New Jersey criminal cases begin with an arrest and charges. If you have been arrested for a crime in New Jersey, the officers must let you know your rights. These rights include:
- The right to remain silent: If you are arrested, do not say anything. Stay calm and cooperate, but don’t start talking to the officers, explaining what happened, or admit to any offenses. You don’t have to! The reason why this is so important is that anything you say could be used against you later on in court. To avoid this problem, stay silent.
- The right to an attorney: When you are facing criminal charges, you have a constitutional right to an attorney. You should be given the opportunity to have an attorney right from the start; don’t hesitate, but contact an attorney right away. An attorney can be helpful in making sure officers and prosecutors observe your rights and you are treated fairly throughout the criminal process. A skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney will know how to help you from the very beginning stages of your case and assist in preparing your defense as you continue through the criminal justice system.
Getting Charged and Convicted of a Crime
To be charged with a crime in New Jersey, the state must have probable cause that you violated a law or statute. Probable cause is a legal term with a broad definition, but simply put, it means that an officer has to have a reasonable belief that you were doing, or about to do, something illegal–the officer has to be able to articulate what (specific facts) made him think this.
Going into a criminal case, you are considered innocent until proven guilty. To convict you of a crime, the prosecutor for the state must prove you committed a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the legal standard of proof required in New Jersey criminal cases–the prosecutor must meet this standard of proof for every element of the crime you are charged with in order to sustain a conviction. If the prosecutor cannot meet this burden or you have an affirmative defense, you should not be convicted.
Consequences of a New Jersey Criminal Conviction
If you are convicted of a criminal charge in New Jersey, you can face serious consequences. The severity of the consequences depends on what type of offense you are found guilty of committing. New Jersey separates their criminal offenses into categories and degrees:
- Disorderly Persons Offenses: Lower level offenses, often referred to as misdemeanor offenses, are called disorderly persons offenses in New Jersey. These offenses are generally minor and have less severe consequences. Still, a conviction for a disorderly persons offense can result in up to six months in jail and you may also be required to pay fines.
- Indictable Offenses: In New Jersey, serious offenses are referred to as indictable offenses (the equivalent of felony crimes in other states). Indictable offenses are split into degrees based on severity. These range from fourth-degree crimes (the least serious) to first-degree crimes (the most severe). These crimes can carry lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines. For example, a conviction for first-degree murder can result in up to life in prison and up to $200,000 in fines.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
If you have been charged with any type of criminal offense in New Jersey, you do not want to tackle your defense on your own. The criminal process can be extremely confusing (it can be hard to remember all the rules and laws!), but beyond this, you have a right to have an attorney by your side. With consequences that can have a serious negative impact on your life, good representation is invaluable.
A skilled attorney can help:
- Make sure your legal rights are protected
- Argue for pretrial release at your bail hearing
- Conduct a throughout investigation into the facts of your case
- Identify constitutional violations in the handling of your case
- Negotiate plea deals (when appropriate)
- Determine the defense strategy that will result in the best possible outcome in your case
- Represent you during trial and diligently present your defense
An experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference when it comes to the results of your criminal case. Don’t try to face your case on your own–remember, it’s your right to have representation!
Contact a Skilled New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At Sarofiem & Antoun, we understand that criminal charges of any kind can instantly turn your world upside down. Even an accusation that you committed a crime can take a toll on your reputation and personal and professional relationships. A conviction can lead to a criminal record that can follow you into the future, even after you have served your sentence. We understand what is at stake, and take a personal and aggressive approach in every case to provide a strong defense.
We are available at any time, 24/7, to assist you with your case, so don’t hesitate to call. We can represent you from the very beginning of your case through the end, including obtaining an expungement of your criminal record. Call us today at (201) 792-3333 for a free, confidential case consultation. We are ready to raise a reasonable doubt and zealously advocate your position to achieve the best possible outcome.