There are a lot of factors that will determine how your case moves through the criminal justice system of New Jersey. One of them is the specific nature of the crime that you are being accused of committing. Another is the county in which you are being charged.
Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense attorney who can represent you in the courtroom and outside of it if you have been accused of a crime in New Jersey. Contact him online for the legal representation you need at this difficult time.
The Criminal Justice System in New Jersey
There are similarities between criminal allegations in New Jersey and elsewhere. The criminal justice system does abide by many of the same overarching procedures in New Jersey and other states. From investigation to the appeals process, you can expect the system to take the following steps.
From Investigation to Arrest
Criminal charges begin with an investigation by law enforcement. Some of these investigations, especially for white collar crimes, can take years and numerous personnel like detectives and prosecutors. Others, however, can take mere minutes, like driving under the influence (DUI) in New Jersey.
Once law enforcement thinks that they have enough evidence to support their case, they will make an arrest and bring a suspect into the local police station for the booking process.
Arrest to Arraignment
After an arrest, the Pretrial Services Program will determine if a suspect is likely to appear at future court dates. This determination depends on the severity of the alleged offense, the suspect's criminal background, and numerous other factors, including the prosecutor and the court that is overseeing the process.
In some cases, a suspect can be released on personal recognizance – a written promise to appear at future court dates. In others, there is a bail requirement to be met before a suspect can be released.
The first of these court dates is the arraignment, where the prosecutor will formally charge the suspect with a criminal offense, turning the suspect into a defendant. The defendant will then issue their plea – usually either guilty or not-guilty, though there are other options to discuss with your lawyer.
Arraignment to Trial
Once the charges have been filed, the prosecutors and the defendant's defense lawyer will gather evidence of guilt and innocence to build their respective cases. During this time, there will be preliminary motions, many of them to suppress evidence, to argue legal issues that come up along the way. There will also be a meeting – sometimes more than one – that raises the possibility of a plea deal.
If no plea deal is struck, the case goes to trial.
Trial, Verdict, and Potential Sentencing and Appeals
While the trial only comes at the end of a long and arduous process, it is so often represented on television shows that nearly everyone knows how it works:
- The prosecutor and defense attorney provide opening statements that tell the jury what they are going to show during the trial
- The prosecutor presents their evidence that the defendant did the crime
- The defense lawyer presents evidence that the defendant did not do the crime
- The prosecutor and defense lawyer have opportunities to rebut each other's case
- Closing arguments by each attorney summarize what happened during the trial
- The jury deliberates the evidence, then issues a verdict of either “guilty” or “not guilty” for each offense charged
If the verdict is “not guilty,” then the case is over and the defendant is acquitted. If the verdict is “guilty,” then the case moved on to the sentencing portion, where the court will decide the appropriate sanctions. At this point, appeals can be lodged to challenge the outcome of the case.
Common Criminal Charges that Attorney Lento Defends Against
The nature of the offense that you are being accused of committing will color the specifics of the criminal justice process. Felony-level offenses add a sense of gravitas to the process and can make it more difficult for suspects to be released on bail or pending trial, at all. Misdemeanors, while less severe, can still saddle a defendant with a criminal background that alters the shape of their future.
Some of the most common criminal allegations that attorney Joseph D. Lento faces in New Jersey include:
- Assault and Battery
- Probation violations
- Crimes by college students
- Drug offenses
- Gun offenses
While some of these allegations are more serious than others – some of them carry penalties that include no jail time at all, while others can lead to decades behind bars for even a first offense – hiring a criminal defense lawyer like Joseph D. Lento to defend against any of them can be a wise choice and an investment in your future.
New Jersey Counties Served by Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph D. Lento
Prosecutors at the different district attorneys' offices in New Jersey all have their own internal procedures and policies that can significantly alter how a case proceeds in their jurisdiction. For example, DUI cases in one county can be prosecuted much more strictly than in another county, simply because one district attorney's office refuses to allow its prosecutors to offer a plea deal or a lesser offense for drunk driving charges. Each county is different and requires a lawyer who understands the local process, policies, and customs of law enforcement in a given area.
Criminal defense lawyer Joseph D. Lento can provide that legal representation throughout the State of New Jersey; including the following counties in New Jersey:
- Camden County
- Gloucester County
- Burlington County
- Atlantic County
- Mercer County
- Cape May
- Ocean County
- Salem County
- Cumberland County
- Bergen County
- Essex County
- Hudson County
- Hunterdon County
- Middlesex County
- Monmouth County
- Morris County
- Passaic County
- Somerset County
- Sussex County
- Union County
- Warren County,
Contact New Jersey's Criminal Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento Today
If you have been accused of a crime in New Jersey, one of the best decisions that you can make is to hire a criminal defense attorney to invoke your rights and argue for your innocence. Contact criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686 for the legal help you need at this difficult time in your life.