When arrested for allegedly committing a crime, you can face years in prison and exuberant fines. Not only is this overwhelming, but there are a number of other considerations you must make. For example, you receive a notice informing you of your pre-indictment court date. If you are unfamiliar with what this means, you’ll want to keep reading to discover more and learn how a Bergen County criminal defense attorney can help you with any issues you may experience in relation to the alleged crimes against you.
The pre-indictment court is a process in which the prosecutor on your case will allow a hearing before the case is presented to the grand jury. Traditionally, pre-indictment hearings are only granted to those charged with severe crimes, which vary based on their degree. New Jersey does not use the term felony but rather classifies these indictable crimes from fourth-degree (least severe) to first-degree (most severe) based on the aggravating circumstances of the offense.
It’s important to note that a grand jury differs from a traditional jury. A grand jury determines whether or not the charges should be brought against the defendant, whereas a petit jury decides whether or not the defendant is guilty or innocent in relation to criminal matters or what damages are owed in a civil case.
Generally, in pre-indictment court, the prosecution will offer a defendant a deal in exchange for a guilty plea. Not only does this allow you to skip the trial portion of your court case, but if there is significant evidence against you for a serious crime, this can lessen the amount of time you spend in prison. If you choose to accept the deal and plead guilty, you will be sentenced within four to six weeks following your plea.
Though the pre-indictment is an ideal opportunity for many who doubt they will be found not guilty of the charges against them, you should never make a decision like this without consulting an attorney. In some instances, your lawyer may believe you have a better chance of beating the charges and can provide advisement about whether or not you should take the deal or proceed to a criminal trial.
Similarly, your attorney may be able to negotiate for a better plea deal. This makes it vital to ensure you have a lawyer with you as soon as you are questioned about or charged with a crime.
When you need an attorney to help, the Law Office of Attorney Conway is ready to represent you. Our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to provide you with the best possible outcome for the charges you’re facing. Contact us today to connect with a competent attorney and discuss the details of your case.