The Details of Being Indicted in New Jersey
Explore the Steps and Implications of Being Indicted in Your Criminal Case in Sussex and Warren County NJ.
Being accused of participating in criminal activity in New Jersey is a serious charge that could result in severe prison sentencing and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. If you have been criminally indicted, your first step must be to seek the legal counsel of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. While it may seem that the complexity of the criminal justice system ensures you some time before you would ever face trial, there are some immediate hearings that, if facilitated by an experienced and skilled defense lawyer, could prevent you from having to go to prison or could even result in your charges being dropped.
Debunking Myths About Indictments in Criminal Cases
A criminal indictment is a document that outlines a formal criminal charge against an individual. In the indictment, the criminal charges against the person are laid out, as are the evidential bases for each charge. This indictment officially commences a criminal case. Contrary to popular belief, a criminal indictment is not the immediate after-effect of an arrest for a criminal charge. Indictments are usually preceded by a criminal complaint issued by law enforcement or an alleged victim. In certain crimes, the only way for a criminal complaint to move forward is for a grand jury of 23 New Jersey citizens to rule by majority whether the county prosecutor has presented enough evidence to charge the individual with a crime. If a majority of the grand jury votes in favor of sufficient evidence, an official criminal indictment will be presented to the defendant. If not, the charge will be dropped, or a lesser charge will be presented.
Charges That Could Lead to Indictment in New Jersey
Serious charges classified as felonies in other states are indictable offenses, grouped according to four degrees of severity in the New Jersey criminal justice system. Fourth degree indictable offenses include cyber harassment, shoplifting an amount between $200.00 and $500.00, resisting arrest, and other offenses. Third degree indictable offenses include possession of child pornography, certain thefts involving amounts between $500 and $75,000, and possession of a BB gun, among others. Second degree indictable offenses include distributing child pornography, common white collar crimes, sexual assault, and some cases of drug distribution, among others. First degree indictable offenses are the most serious and include homicide, child endangerment by a guardian who permits a child to participate in child pornography, kidnapping, large-scale drug distribution, aggravated sexual assault, carjacking, armed robbery, and other offenses.
What are my Rights if I’m Being Indicted in NJ?
As in any case, defendants are ensured multiple rights under the United States and New Jersey Constitutions. Defendants have the right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; they have the right to remain silent and not incriminate themselves; they have the right to a fair and speedy trial; and they have the right to legal representation or to represent themselves.
Pre and Post Indictment in NJ Criminal Courts
If a grand jury of 23 citizens determines there is sufficient evidence for the county prosecutor to move forward with a trial, the accused will be officially indicted. The defendant will then be arraigned, at which point the formal charges against them are read. During the pre-trial, a defendant’s criminal defense team will develop a strong defense in their support, thoroughly investigating the facts surrounding the case and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. The defense team will also attempt to negotiate a plea bargain in certain cases, in which a guilty plea is exchanged for a reduced charge or sentence. If a plea deal is not forged because it is not the most advantageous route for the defendant, the case will head on to trial. There are also other options like diversionary programs, most notably the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which may be applied for when a first-time offender is eligible.
Contact our Criminal Defense Lawyers if You are at Risk of Being Indicted in Newton or Belvidere NJ
When an individual is being indicted for a criminal offense, the case could result in a plea deal or head to trial, with differing outcomes of various severity for the defendant. Because outcomes vary between acquittal and a prison sentence of up to 20 years and $150,000 in fines, having the assistance of a quality criminal defense attorney is an essential asset. Our team of criminal lawyers has the skills and experience to take prosecutors head on and uphold our clients’ constitutional rights, including the presumption of their innocence until guilt is proven beyond a doubt. Our record includes countless examples of favorable results for our clients in their criminal cases in Mansfield, Lafayette, Wantage, Greenwich, Montague, Frankford, Newton, Belvider, Franklin, Phillipsburg, and throughout Sussex County and Warren County, New Jersey. Contact us today at 973-755-1695 for a confidential and free consultation to learn how we will fight for you.