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What to Know if You’re Charged With a Crime in New Jersey as a First-Time Offender

Have you found yourself accused of a crime you didn’t commit or in a situation where you ended up in jail but don’t quite understand why? Unfortunately, through misunderstandings or non-thorough investigations, bystanders and completely innocent individuals can end up wrongfully accused of a crime. Believe it or not, it happens more often than you might think, and the best way to be aware is to be prepared. As a result, we’ll review what you can expect and what you should know if charged with a crime in Burlington County, NJ, or the surrounding areas. 

After Being Charged, What Can I Expect? 

Once you have been charged, the next steps vary depending on the type of criminal complaint received. Whether you get a warrant or summons complaints is important, for each will have a different effect on the following circumstances. 

Typically, in cases of no criminal history or minimal criminal background, the police officer may file the summons’ complaint. Fortunately, this can mean you are free to go and are simply expected to report to the court on your noted date. At this time, you can anticipate more information from the judge, including your next court date, what your rights are, and what the charges are against you. 

On the other hand, if you find yourself in a situation where the complaint is filed as a warrant, you will not be immediately released. Rather, prepare to go to the county jail and be brought before the judge within the following one to two days, on average. At this time, bail will be determined. 

What Happens When You First Get Arrested? 

Before even being arrested by the police, know that it must be under probable cause. “Probable cause” is defined as reasonable conditions where you are being suspected of illegal activity. As a result, there may be “probable cause” to detain or arrest you. 

Once arrested, the booking process starts. Here’s what it should include: 

These steps are most fundamental to the process, but there are more that you may encounter. Most are paperwork-related, such as recording your name and the alleged crime from the start. Also, the arresting officer may check for any other warrants on your record. In essence, this helps determine what the next steps look like depending on whether it comes back clear or not. 

Additionally, a health screening may occur with other inmates and employees’ safety and health in mind. This can incorporate testing such as bloodwork or X-rays. Likewise, a DNA sample may be collected, but this is entirely situational. However, as of a 2013 Supreme Court decision, police officers are allowed to ask for a sample during this booking process. 

What Are My Rights?  

As a citizen or documented immigrant of the United States, you always have the right to an attorney. During your arrest, you should be Mirandized, where your rights are explained to you. This also includes the right not to speak without your lawyer present. 

In most circumstances, it is advisable to hire a criminal lawyer or DWI lawyer, depending on the crime in which you were accused. Ultimately, the Law Offices of Zapicchi & Liller LLP will represent you and your interests best in court while working towards the optimal outcome for your case. After all, our practice has over 20 years of combined experience, so we can be trusted to fight for you in a criminal law case based in Monmouth County, NJ. Contact us today for more information!

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The Difference Between Assault and Battery in New Jersey

Many people who have watched Law & Order or any other crime drama have heard of “assault and battery” charges but probably don’t understand what they mean. Just because you hear it on the television doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a comprehensive understanding of the criminal law itself. 

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Criminal Law

How Will A DWI Affect My Employment in New Jersey?

As a professional charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated) in New Jersey, you may be worried that the charge will affect your ability to get or keep a job, especially if you are ultimately found guilty. Fortunately, a DWI in New Jersey is not a criminal offense, so it does not show up during criminal background screenings and is not reported to criminal databases like the National Crime Information Center or NCIC. However, that doesn’t mean that a conviction is not without its fair share of penalties for the accused.

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Criminal Law

A Brief Rundown of the Penalties for a Gun Charge in NJ

New Jersey is known for its strict gun laws. If you are accused of illegally possessing a gun or another weapon, it’s important to proceed carefully. Some of the penalties can be severe, so it’s a good idea to work with an attorney knowledgeable about criminal law in Monmouth County, NJ, and the surrounding areas.

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What to do if You’re Accused of Shoplifting in New Jersey

Being detained for shoplifting in New Jersey is a stressful situation, and many people feel the need to take action immediately. However, if you’re accused of shoplifting in Monmouth County or the surrounding areas, it’s important to be careful about how you handle the situation.

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Criminal Law

Can You Text at a Red Light in New Jersey? Maybe Not for Much Longer.

New Jersey drivers have been prohibited by state law from texting while driving since 2008. However, a new bill, Measure S1602, aims to reduce distracted driving by making it against the law to text while at a stoplight, too. In fact, New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a measure that makes simply holding a cell phone, as a driver, a disorderly person offense. If you’ve received a traffic citation for distracted driving, or texting and driving, you may need help from The Law Offices of Zapicchi & Liller LLP.

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Criminal Law

What You Should Be Looking for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer

A criminal charge is a serious offense, and not all lawyers have the experience and skills to get you out of jail. Choosing the best defense lawyer is critical to your acquittal or exoneration, but where do you start looking? Right here!

Area of Specialty

The right attorney should specialize in criminal law. Check the law firm’s website to determine the kind of services the lawyer you intend to hire offers. An attorney who is regularly involved in criminal law understands the legal system and has vast experience handling similar cases.

Choose Someone Experienced in Local Courts

In addition to the specialty area, you should also hire an attorney who has vast experience working with the local courts. Such an attorney has built reliable local connections and relationships that can help you fight a criminal charge. Having insights into how the court operates can help you create a bulletproof defense strategy.

Check Customer Reviews

You can gain important insights about an attorney by checking client reviews available on the internet. Ensure you are using only reputable sources such as the websites of state bar associations. Also, check whether the lawyer is licensed and if they have any formal discipline issues on their record. Websites like Facebook don’t allow lawyers to remove bad reviews, which can be an ideal starting point.

Need Help with a Criminal Case?

If you are looking for experienced criminal lawyers in Hamilton Township, NJ, contact the Law Offices of Zapicchi & Liller LLP. We strongly believe that the legal system should work for the people, and our criminal law legal teams are committed to standing up for your rights no matter what charges you’re facing. We’ll fight for you — and win!

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Criminal Law

FAQs About Juvenile Crimes in New Jersey

Juvenile delinquency refers to criminal acts or offenses committed by a young person under the age of 18 years. At the Law Offices of Zapicchi & Liller LLP, we understand that adolescence is a delicate time that can sometimes lead to costly mistakes. However, we don’t believe one mistake made at such a young age should define the rest of someone’s life. We’ve compiled a list of FAQs regarding juvenile crimes in New Jersey, and we’re always available for a consultation should you need additional legal assistance. 

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Criminal Law

Burglary Vs. Robbery in NJ

Typically, burglary does not involve violence, but robbery does. According to New Jersey law, if you use threat or force to steal from someone else, it’s considered robbery. Burglary is theft without violence. If you face burglary or robbery charges, we have the best team of criminal lawyers in Hamilton Township, NJ.

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Criminal Law

What to Do if You’ve Been Accused of a Robbery in New Jersey

Being accused of a robbery in New Jersey is a serious matter. You’re facing severe penalties if you’re convicted. Because of this, it’s imperative that you have a criminal lawyer on your side to protect your rights.

In New Jersey, robbery is split into two degrees: first degree and second degree. Both of them come with the possibility of time in prison and fines, but first degree is a much more serious charge. Criminal law in New Jersey stipulates that a theft that occurs using violence or a threat of violence is robbery, and robbery in the second degree is the default charge for it unless there are extenuating circumstances.

When is Robbery in the Second Degree Increased to Robbery in the First Degree?

Robbery in the second degree increases to a first degree if there is a weapon involved or if there is a threat of using a weapon. It will also increase if there’s an attempted murder or if bodily injury is inflicted upon the victim.

What are the Penalties for Robbery?

Robbery in the second degree carries penalties of incarceration of 5 to 10 years, and robbery in the first degree carries penalties of incarceration of 10 to 20 years.

If there is a weapon used in the robbery, a state mandate requires that the person serve at least 3.5 years in prison. This typically applies to robbery in the first degree.

What Does the Prosecutor Need to Prove?

In order to launch a successful case for robbery, the prosecution has several points they need to prove. These include proving that:

  • The defendant intended to commit the crime
  • The defendant did commit or attempt to commit a theft
  • The defendant used or threatened to use force during the robbery or while leaving the robbery

It’s imperative that anyone who’s facing a robbery charge contact one of our criminal lawyers in Hamilton Township, NJ, to explore defense options. These vary based on the circumstances of the charges, so be sure that you discuss the entire case with one of our attorneys to find out what options you have. Contact us now to learn more!