Criminal Defense Attorney in Trenton, NJ
Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Other times, situations just get out of hand. If you are facing criminal charges for a drug offense, assault, traffic violation, or other situation, you’re not alone. You have the right to an attorney to guide you and advocate on your behalf. A knowledgeable, compassionate criminal defense lawyer will help you understand your options and fight for your rights.
Types of Criminal Charges in New Jersey
Crimes in New Jersey are not classified as “felonies” and “misdemeanors.” Instead, the Superior Court handles more serious charges, while less serious matters (called “disorderly person offenses”) are handled in Municipal Court. However, make no mistake: both types of crimes carry fines and penalties that can result in jail or prison time, probation, fines, and loss of drivers’ licenses.
Crimes involving violence or that result in significant injuries are usually charged in Superior Court. Drug offenses may be handled by either Superior or Municipal Court, depending on the quantity and type of the drug you were charged with possessing or distributing. Even traffic offenses may result in Superior Court charges, depending on the circumstances. Because of this, it is crucial to retain experienced legal counsel who understands your situation and background. An attorney can help strategize, evaluate your options and the likelihood of success, and prepare a vigorous defense to protect your rights.
Drug Charges in New Jersey
Drug charges in New Jersey, like in other states, have significant possible penalties. Even if you avoid a prison sentence for a drug offense, you may still have to pay significant fines and could lose your driver’s license (temporarily or permanently). Drug possession charges and drug distribution charges are serious matters you should not face alone.
Collateral Consequences of Convictions in New Jersey
If you are convicted of any criminal offense, there can be other consequences beyond jail or fines. These may include loss of professional licenses or eligibility to obtain them. A conviction can also lead to changes in your visa or immigration status. It can also affect your ability to obtain educational loans, eligibility for certain housing, and entitlement to public benefits. While you are imprisoned, you may lose your right to vote. A criminal conviction can also expose you to additional civil penalties or lawsuits related to the occurrence.
Sometimes, it may be possible to have a conviction expunged from your record. Whether this is possible depends on the circumstances of the conviction and any prior convictions you may have. Having a conviction expunged can be complicated and take a long time. It’s best to avoid a conviction in the first place. If you are charged with a crime, you should seek the advice of an attorney.
Never Plead Guilty Without Legal Representation
Pleading guilty to a crime has the same effect as being convicted by a judge or jury. Prosecutors often attempt to negotiate plea bargains to quickly resolve the charges without a trial. Consult with an experienced attorney before you enter into any plea bargain. An attorney will help you understand the long-term consequences of any plea bargain that is offered and explain the other available options.
Options for Individuals Facing Drug Charges and Other Criminal Charges
New Jersey offers three “diversionary programs” that help individuals with no prior criminal history avoid a conviction and criminal record. These programs are allowed at the discretion of the judge for qualified individuals. Pretrial Intervention (PTI) is a program for first-time offenders charged in Superior Court. Conditional Discharge is a possible option for first-time offenders charged with drug offenses in Municipal Court, while Conditional Dismissal can be an option for those facing non-drug-related Municipal Court charges.
Each diversionary program has different requirements for acceptance and successful completion. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help evaluate whether one of them may be an option for your situation. Your attorney will help you present your case in the best light possible to the Court and give you the best chance of being accepted into a diversionary program. If the Court assigns you to one of these options, an attorney can help you understand what you must do to complete its requirements successfully and avoid a criminal record.
Patient, Experienced Representation
People make mistakes and deserve a second chance. The criminal court system can be frustrating, confusing, and slow. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you may worry about what will happen and feel like you don’t understand your options. You have the right to an attorney. You don’t have to do this alone.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will help you navigate the New Jersey court system and understand the process. Attorney Jenna Casper Bloom is a patient, compassionate advocate. She has helped hundreds of people resolve the charges against them and negotiate a better outcome. Don’t wait, and don’t worry—help is just a phone call away.