What Happens After You’ve Been Charged with a Crime?

Posted June 2nd, 2023 by .

Categories: Criminal Defense.

The New Jersey criminal justice system is a well-oiled machine. It processes and prosecutes thousands of people each month, and it’s very easy to get lost in the system. Please contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone to speak with a NJ criminal defense attorney if you’ve been charged. Below, we explain what you can expect and whether you will spend time in jail awaiting trial.

You Might Be Arrested

New Jersey has two types of criminal complaints: summons complaints and warrant complaints. The difference matters for the purpose of explaining what will happen next.

If you are given a summons complaint, you are not taken to jail. Instead, you will be given the date of your first appearance in court. Summons complaints typically are reserved for minor crimes, i.e., disorderly persons offenses like disorderly conduct, shoplifting items of low value, or simple assault. Your court date should be listed on the summons complaint. 

At your first appearance in court, the judge will advise you of the charges against you and explain your rights. The judge will also probably convey information about any programs that are available, along with the next court date. You should be free to leave after your first appearance.

With a warrant complaint, by contrast, you will be arrested and taken to the county jail before being taken before a judge in a day or two. Warrant complaints are issued for more serious criminal charges. This warrant complaint gives the police the power to detain you and take you into custody.

Can You Receive Bail?

Bail allows someone awaiting trial to remain out of jail. Without bail, you will spend months behind bars until your trial date. New Jersey realizes that this is unfair since you have not been convicted of anything, so the state should not restrict your freedom unnecessarily.

Once you are charged, Pre-trial Services will review your criminal history in a database. This history will result in a bail score, called the Public Safety Assessment. Essentially, Pre-trial Services is reviewing whether you are a risk to release back into the general population.

Based on your score, Pre-trial Services will either recommend release or detention. The prosecutor can challenge any recommendation of release. The judge should inform you at your first hearing whether you are being held or released.

Those held will be given a detention hearing in a few days. The judge will decide whether to release you based on:

  • The nature of your offense
  • Your risk of failing to appear in court in the future
  • Your risk of reoffending and threatening public safety
  • Your risk of obstructing justice

New Jersey no longer has a cash bail system. If released, you must show up to court hearings, and the judge might impose restrictions you must follow, such as not leaving the state. Any violation could result in your arrest and detention until trial.

Speak with Our NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can help anyone facing a summons or warrant complaint. We can advocate for your release on bail and begin gathering evidence to use in your defense. Sometimes, the evidence is so weak we can convince a judge or prosecutor to drop the charges. Contact us to get started.

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