New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers


New Jersey has a whole bunch of criminal laws, just like other states. From drug crimes to theft to violent stuff, the legal system here sees all kinds of cases every year. If your charged with a crime in New Jersey, getting a good criminal defense lawyer can make a big difference. The laws and courts are complicated; a lawyer who knows how it all works can build the strongest defense.

Common Criminal Charges in New Jersey

Some of the most common criminal charges in New Jersey courts are:

Drug Crimes

New Jersey is real serious about drug crimes, even small stuff like having a little weed or prescription pills without a prescription. The charges go from use and possession to intent to distribute and making illegal drugs. The penalties get harsher as the crime gets more serious, with mandatory minimum jail times for drug dealing and trafficking charges.

Defendants might get charges dismissed or reduced by showing they had a valid prescription or the drugs were just for personal use. For distribution charges, good drug crimes lawyers look into if there was illegal search or entrapment or other problems with the arrest.

Theft Crimes

Theft charges in New Jersey start as low-level disorderly persons offenses for shoplifting or taking stuff worth less than $500. More serious crimes like burglary, robbery, auto theft, identity theft, and embezzlement are bigger offenses with stiff penalties. The charges and sentencing depend on what was stolen, if weapons or force used, criminal history, and other factors.

Experienced theft crimes lawyers know how to negotiate with prosecutors, raise doubts about evidence, show mitigating circumstances, and get charges reduced through pre-trial intervention programs. For big theft crimes or violence, they work hard to build the strongest possible trial defense.

Assault and Violent Crimes

New Jersey defines different degrees of assault based on things like if injuries happened, weapons used, intent, and more. Simple assault is a disorderly persons offense, while aggravated assault is a 2nd or 1st degree felony. Violent crimes like murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, and sexual assault are major felonies with long prison sentences if convicted.

Criminal defense lawyers dig into the details of violent crime cases to find weaknesses. Strategies can include showing actions were self-defense, attacking eyewitness credibility, keeping out evidence due to procedural errors, showing mistaken identity, and more. A good trial lawyer can make the difference between guilty and not guilty or lesser charges.

DUI and Traffic Crimes

Driving drunk or high is a very common charge in New Jersey. Even first offenses can mean fines, license suspension, and maybe jail time. Refusing a breath test leads to bigger penalties. Drivers can also be charged with reckless driving, leaving an accident scene, driving suspended, and more.

Good DUI lawyers know how to fight breathalyzer results, say field sobriety tests were done wrong, and raise doubts about the traffic stop procedures. For bad traffic charges, they work to get charges reduced through plea deals or diversion programs to avoid long license suspensions.

White Collar and Cyber Crimes

With lots of corporations and businesses located here, New Jersey also sees white collar and cybercrime cases.

Charges can include embezzlement, investment fraud, money laundering, identity theft, computer hacking, and other financial and technology crimes. These cases need lawyers who understand the industries and tech involved.

Defense strategies often focus on problems or inadequate evidence from accounting investigations or tech audits.

Lawyers can also say defendants didn’t know about illegal activities or show accounting problems were mistakes not fraud.

Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney in New Jersey

Facing criminal prosecution is scary, so picking the right lawyer matters. Here’s some tips for finding someone with the skills to build a strong defense:

Look for a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense, not a general practice attorney. Handling criminal cases all the time gives them lots of knowledge of prosecutors, judges, and the system.

Make sure they have plenty of experience with your specific criminal charge. A lawyer who does theft cases or drug crimes regularly will know more strategies and details than one who doesn’t focus on those areas.

Find someone who knows the courts and laws in the exact county your charged in. Local rules, judges’ tendencies, and cultural stuff can vary from county to county.

Ask about trial experience and results in similar cases. Avoiding trial through plea deals is often the goal, but you want someone who can take it to an acquittal if needed.

Be sure you have good rapport and can trust them. The lawyer-client relationship matters, so you need someone who will hear you out, answer questions, and make you feel comfortable.

Discuss fees upfront and get clear, written agreements. Good criminal defense lawyers offer free first meetings and flexible payment plans.

The Criminal Case Process in New Jersey

If your facing criminal prosecution, here’s a basic overview of how it works in New Jersey:

Arrest: Police arrest based on probable cause. You can know the charges and can’t be questioned without a lawyer if you ask for one.

Charging decision: The prosecution reviews the investigation and evidence to decide formal charges within 90 days of arrest.

First court appearance: At the first hearing, you enter a plea – guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Bail might be set or charges dismissed if evidence is weak.

Grand jury: Felony charges go before a grand jury who decides if there’s enough evidence to indict and go forward. Defendants can testify if they want.

Pretrial motions: Your lawyer can file motions to get evidence thrown out or charges dismissed before trial. This can lead to plea bargain offers.

Plea bargaining: Most cases end through plea deals negotiated by the defense and prosecution to avoid trial. Deals might involve lesser charges or lighter sentencing.

Trial: If no plea deal, the case will go to a trial by jury or judge. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Your lawyer will defend against charges.

Sentencing: If found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence following New Jersey sentencing guidelines. Your lawyer argues for minimum penalties.