Being charged with a criminal offense is a traumatic experience, including for the extended family of the accused. A conviction means they may lose their freedom, job, and the companionship of family and friends. Convictions normally stay on record forever unless they can be expunged.
To help your loved one and to help mitigate the damage, first find out where your friend or family member is being held. Next, call a criminal defense attorney for assistance and representation. Communicate with the attorney and take his or her suggestions on how you can best serve your loved one.
What will happen now and how a lawyer can help?
An experienced criminal lawyer will immediately work by:
- Explaining your loved one’s Constitutional rights. Even though it’s a common saying, “you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you,” many defendants feel the need to speak. An experienced attorney will inform the police and prosecution that no conversations should take place unless the lawyer is present. Most defense attorneys, unless a reasonable exception applies, will advise your loved one to stay quiet. The lawyer will also explain what the Fourth Amendment requirements are to search your loved one’s home, car, or private possessions.
- Arranging for an arraignment and bail hearing and representing you at the hearing. New Jersey now requires that arraignments and bail hearings take place in 48 hours after the arrest. At the arraignment, your loved one will be advised of the criminal charges. At the bail hearing, the lawyer will present the best arguments for releasing your loved one on minimal bail (or no bail at all).
- Reviewing and investigating what happened so that any defenses that can apply are properly heard. It is important to speak to witnesses as soon as possible while their memory is fresh. Experienced lawyers will normally hire investigators to examine the location where the crime is alleged to have occurred and investigate any evidence that can help exonerate your loved one.
- Explaining the New Jersey criminal procedure process. The attorney will explain each stage of the criminal process including any hearings and motions that take place before the actual trial.
- Negotiating on your loved one’s behalf. Many charges can be reduced or dismissed if the lawyer is experienced and understands which factual and legal arguments to make.
Even minor criminal charges can destroy reputations, result in jail time, mean significant fines, and cause severe emotional distress. Early intervention in cases by knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorneys increases the changes that charges will be dismissed or reduced.
Let us help you. Call for a free consultation.
At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., we have six decades of criminal trial experience. Many of our lawyers worked as prosecutors, so we know how the other side thinks. We handle most types of criminal charges. For strong advocacy, please phone us at (908) 561-5577 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation. We see clients in jail if needed.