Share

Criminal Defense

What happens after an arrest?

What rights do I have after being arrested?

Can I fight a criminal charge or is my case hopeless?

Can I get a plea deal?





Q: What happens after an arrest?

Being arrested can be confusing. The legal world is complex and unfamiliar and oftentimes works in unexpected ways. Here is a brief outline of the typical path a criminal defendant takes:

Once you are in custody, the police will likely attempt to interrogate you. As discussed below, you have the right to remain silent. We recommend you immediately ask for an attorney, and then remain silent except for answering basic booking questions such as “What is your name?” and “What is your address?”

Booking is the collection of basic personal information. It can occur before or after interrogation.

Your first appearance in court occurs after booking. A first appearance must be schedule for the day of the arrest or shortly thereafter. First appearances are often combined with an arraignment. At your arraignment, the judge will set your bail, which is the amount you must pay in order to be released from jail while you await trial.

It is often at this time that a plea bargain is made with the prosecutor. It is actually very rare for a case to go to trial, most defendants accept a plea deal.

If you do choose to go to trial, and the charge is a felony, the next step is a grand jury. A grand jury will hear the facts of the case and listen to what evidence the prosecutor has against you. If the grand jury believes that there is enough evidence, they will issue an indictment.

You can either plead guilty or not guilty to the indictment. If you plead not guilty, the case goes to trial. The state has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty.

At the end of the trial, the jury (or a judge depending on the circumstances) issues the verdict. If you are found not guilty you will be free to go. If you are found guilty, the judge will impose a sentence. 


Back to the top.

Q: What rights do I have after being arrested?

As you may have heard on a television show or in a movie, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford one, the court will provide one.” However, that is not the whole story.

Right Against Self-Incrimination

The 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects persons charged with a crime from self-incrimination. This is where the right to remain silent comes in. You have the right to refuse to answer any questions asked by the government – at the time of arrest, at the jailhouse, and at trial.

We strongly recommend all persons remain silent when in police custody. The only thing you should say is “I want an attorney.”

Right to an Attorney

All persons charged of a crime have the right to an attorney. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that persons who are charged with a crime that can be punished by imprisonment who cannot afford to hire an attorney will be provided one by the government.

We strongly recommend all persons remain silent when in police custody. The only thing you should say is “I want an attorney.”

Miranda Rights

The two rights discussed above – the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney – are known as Miranda rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that police officers must inform you of these rights. However, the police do not have to do so immediately, only when they have you in custody and want to ask you questions.

We strongly recommend all persons remain silent when in police custody. The only thing you should say is “I want an attorney.”

Many people think that if the police do not read them their Miranda rights, the charges against them will be dropped. This is not true. If the police fail to inform you your rights you can still be convicted!

Unreasonable Search and Seizure

The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects you and your property from unreasonable search and seizure. Although there are many exceptions to this rule, the police generally cannot search your home, property, car, or documents unless they have a search warrant, or you have given them consent to search.

If a search was unreasonable, the evidence seized during it can generally cannot be used against you at trial.

Right to Trial by Jury

Any crime that may be punished by imprisonment for more than six months automatically triggers the right to a trial by jury.


Back to the top.

Q: Can I fight a criminal charge or is my case hopeless?

At Sitzler & Sitzler we never take the position that a case is hopeless. Each and every person deserves their day in court, and we are honored when a client selects us to be there with them.

The law requires the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. If the state does not have the evidence to support its charge against you, conviction is unconstitutional.  Thus, attacking the state’s evidence against you is an effective defense tactic.

Our firm has successfully defended many persons charged with crimes by discrediting the state’s evidence and presenting other evidence in our clients’ favor. 


Back to the top.

Q: Can I get a plea deal?

The majority of all criminal cases are resolved via plea bargaining with the prosecutor. Very few cases actually go to trial.

There are some crimes in New Jersey, DUI for example, where the prosecutor is not able to offer a lesser charge or lighter punishment. The only options are to plead guilty or go to trial.  

Each case is unique, so no criminal defense attorney can ever promise a specific result in an individual case. What we can promise is that we will devote our full attention and all the resources at our disposal toward defending each and every one of our client’s cases. 


Back to the top.


Criminal Defense News

The Sitzler & Sitzler law office in Hainesport, New Jersey, serves clients in Mount Laurel, Evesham, Westampton, Bordentown, Cherry Hill, Pennsauken, Voorhees, Winslow, Gloucester Township, Deptford, Washington Township, Woodbury, Hamilton, Galloway, Northfield, Hammonton, & elsewhere within Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, & Atlantic County.



© 2017 Sitzler and Sitzler | Attorney Advertising
1487 State Highway 38 West, Hainesport, NJ 08036
| Phone: 609-267-1101

DWI/DUI Defense | Multiple DUI/DWI Offenses | Criminal Defense Overview | Traffic Violations | MVC Points/ Driver License Violations | Federal Cases | Felonies/Indictable Charges | Misdemeanor/Disorderly Person | Domestic Violence | White Collar Crimes | Drug Crimes | Theft | Juvenile Matters | Violent Crimes | Criminal Sexual Contact | Homicide | Weapons Offenses | Expungement | Probation and Parole Violations | Megan's Law | Assault and Battery | Burglary | Appellate Law | Guns and Weapons Charges | CJP Hearing | Criminal Defense | Testimonials | About Us | Other Services | En Espanol

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinked-In Company

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative