NJ Superior Court Criminal Defense Lawyer
I am Anthony N. Palumbo, a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney at the law offices of Palumbo & Renaud, and I represent clients in all types of criminal cases tried in the Superior Courts in Essex County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, and Union County. In addition to having more than 35 years of experience as a New Jersey defense attorney, I'm also a former county and municipal prosecutor. My experiences on every side of the law have given me genuine insights into the criminal legal process and have made me successful in representing clients throughout New Jersey.
If you've been indicted or charged with a crime and you need a New Jersey Superior Court County Attorney to defend you, I can guide you through this difficult process and draw upon my extensive experience with the criminal justice process to ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact me online or at 1-866-664-8118 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. I will go through the facts of your case, explain the stages of the criminal justice system, and discuss all of the possible legal strategies that could be used on your behalf.
New Jersey Superior Court Indictable Crimes Defense Attorney
The Law Division of the Superior Court, which has a branch in each county in New Jersey, has jurisdiction over all indictable criminal offenses, meaning any crime of the first, second, third, or fourth degree. The types of crimes heard before the Superior Courts tend to be serious in nature, including offenses such as aggravated assault, crimes against children, drug manufacturing and distribution, sex crimes, burglary, and weapons offenses. Non-indictable offenses, such as municipal offenses, traffic violations, and disorderly persons charges, are heard in municipal courts rather than the Superior Courts.
Stages in the Superior Court Criminal Trial Process
The regulations and procedures governing criminal court proceedings in the New Jersey court system are complex and often confusing. This page should answer some of your questions about New Jersey criminal procedures, but please remember that a New Jersey Superior Court County Attorney is crucial to your defense, and this page is in no way a replacement for consulting with an attorney regarding the circumstances of your case.
- Setting Bail. After being arrested and detained for an indictable offense, a judge may either release the defendant until a future court date or set bail to ensure that he won't "skip town" if released from custody. When setting bail in New Jersey, judges must take state guidelines into consideration, but they have a significant amount of discretion regarding the amount of bail and whether to attach any restrictions or conditions, such as requiring the defendant to relinquish his passport. Defendants who are unable to meet bail can request reductions, but because bail decisions rely so heavily on individual judges it can be immensely helpful to have a New Jersey lawyer who's familiar with local judges and knows what factors are most likely to influence their decisions.
- Grand Jury Indictment. Following the defendant's arrest, the prosecutor can either make a pre-indictment plea deal or assemble a grand jury to decide whether to issue an indictment. Because grand juries are held in secrecy and the prosecutor has nearly exclusive authority over the proceedings, it's become a common legal saying that "a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich if he wanted to." A grand jury indictment doesn't reflect on the defendant's guilt or innocence, however, but merely serves as a preliminary finding that the state has sufficient evidence to require the defendant to stand trial. If the grand jury concludes that such evidence is lacking, it issues a "No Bill" instead, which terminates the criminal proceedings.
- Alternative Judicial Procedures. If the grand jury returns an indictment, then a pre-arraignment conference is scheduled so that the prosecutor and defense attorney can determine whether the defendant could be eligible for alternative judicial procedures, such as pre-trial intervention or transfer to drug court.
- Plea Negotiations. Prior to arraignment, the prosecutor may offer various plea bargains, which give the defendant a chance to have his charges reduced in exchange for pleading guilty. Deciding whether to take a plea deal can be incredibly difficult, especially if the defendant is innocent or if he believes that he could be acquitted. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial at this point in the proceedings so that he can help advise the defendant about the strengths and weaknesses of his case and the risks of taking a plea deal or continuing to trial.
- Arraignment and Pre-Trial Procedures. At arraignment, the defendant must enter a plea to the charges. If he pleads guilty, the case will continue to sentencing, and if he pleads not guilty, then the court proceeds to schedule pre-trial hearings on issues regarding the admissibility of evidence and other motions. Arrangements are also made for discovery, depositions, and other pre-trial procedures, and if the case isn't resolved during these proceedings, the court will hold a pre-trial conference to set a date for trial.
- Trial Proceedings. If the case continues to trial, it will be heard in the Superior Court located in the county where the crime was allegedly committed, and under New Jersey law, the defendant can either request a trial by jury or waive this right and have his case decided by the judge. Normal rules of evidence and trial procedures apply, and a persuasive criminal defense attorney can present a strong defense by submitting evidence showing the defendant's innocence, raising doubts about the prosecution's case, objecting to the admissibility of hearsay and other prejudicial testimony, and asserting various legal defenses.
- Sentencing. At the end of the trial, the defendant will either be acquitted and set free or found guilty and sentenced to a term of imprisonment or other penalties. The sentencing decision is made by the judge, not the jury, and an extended prison sentence may be imposed based on certain aggravating factors, such as the defendant's criminal background or the involvement of a juvenile victim in the crime. The judge can also take mitigating factors into account, such as the defendant's lack of any previous convictions or his low-risk for re-offending, and can impose a suspended sentence or probation instead of incarceration.
- Post-Judgment Motions and Appeals. A defendant who is found guilty may have several options to challenge the verdict or sentence, such as filing a motion to reduce the sentence, filing a petition for post-conviction relief, or appealing to the New Jersey Appellate Division.
Getting the Legal Representation You Deserve
As the lead attorney at the law offices of Palumbo & Renaud, I can help you with every stage of the New Jersey criminal court process, from arrest and bail to Superior Court trial proceedings and appeals. My goal is to win your case or get the best possible outcome for you as quickly as possible, and to do everything in my power to reduce the anxiety of dealing with criminal charges by working on your case around the clock, keeping you updated and explaining relevant legal information, and always being available to answer your questions. To learn what I can do for you, contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, through the email form on my website or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation.