You might think that one of the worst experiences imaginable is being arrested and having your freedom taken away – even if only for a brief time. Now imagine being incarcerated for months or even years. The truth is that your arrest could be just the beginning of a nightmare that haunts you for the rest of your life. That’s because the NJ criminal justice system can be harsh and unforgiving when it comes to certain felony offenses, such as illegal handgun possession, drug distribution, and aggravated assault.
Just one mistake after your arrest could potentially be used by the prosecutor to secure a conviction at trial. That’s why it is vitally important for you to avoid making any statements to law enforcement until you have had an opportunity to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney.
Here are some things you should do if you get arrested in New Jersey:
- Call a lawyer. Do not make the mistake of thinking that you don’t need a lawyer simply because you are innocent. Innocent people are convicted all the time in NJ. If you fail to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, you are likely to regret it for a long time to come.
- Remember that the prosecutor is not on your side. Do not speak to the prosecutor about your case. You may believe that you will be able to talk your way out of the case, but the reality is that NJ prosecutors are only interested in securing a conviction. Moreover, prosecutors are more likely to offer a favorable plea deal to a defendant who is represented by an attorney.
- Comply with the police. Do not physically resist the police if you are being arrested. The moment you are placed in handcuffs is not the right time to fight back. Not only will you still face the original criminal charges, you could wind up being charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault on a police officer as well. Let your attorney contest your arrest, and fight your charges when it is appropriate to do so.
- Act quickly. Unless you want to be stuck behind bars, you need to take immediate action and contact the necessary people, including a good criminal defense attorney. Your attorney may be able to file crucial motions in court to preserve your rights in the hours and days after your arrest.
- Expunge the arrest. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to get the arrest expunged from your record. This means that no one, such as future employers, will be able to see that you were arrested. Ask your lawyer about the process for expunging a criminal arrest record.
The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. won’t back down from a fight in the courtroom. If you or a loved one was recently arrested in New Jersey, contact us now to discuss the case.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.