What is an Arraignment in NJ?

Following the arrest of a defendant for an indictable offense the defendant will be brought before a court. This appearance is technically called “the first appearance after filing complaint,” but it is commonly referred to as an “arraignment.” Legally, this appearance must be held no more than 72 hours after arrest excluding holidays. However, in practice these appearances or arraignments may not end up being held until days or weeks after the initial arrest and most times they are waived by way of a letter of representation from defense counsel. The judge will also have the opportunity to set bail for the offenses charged. More often then not, a Defendant charged with an indictable offense in Hudson County, New Jersey will have their arraignment at the Central Judicial Processing Hearing (“CJP”). (For more information on a CJP please click the link) These proceedings are typically handled in a similar for a non-indictable offense handled by the local municipal court. Basically, when the defendant is charged with an indictable or non-indictable offense, the judge will inform the defendant of the following:

1. The charges made against the defendant. The prosecutor will usually serve a copy of the complaint on the defendant.

2. That the defendant has a right to remain silent and that any statement may be used against the defendant.

3. That the defendant has a right to retain counsel and, if indigent, a right to be represented by the public defender.

4. Ask the defendant whether he or she seeks counsel. Defendant’s response is to be recorded on the complaint in one of three ways as follows:

(a) “defendant requested counsel be furnished,” or

(b) “defendant wishes to retain counsel” or

(c) “defendant waives the right to be represented by counsel.”

5. That there is a PTI program operating in the county and where and how an application to it may be made.

6. That the defendant has a right to a probable cause hearing.

7. For indictable offenses, that the defendant has a right to indictment by the grand jury and trial by jury and if the offense charged may be tried by the court upon waiver of indictment and trial by jury, the court shall so inform the defendant.

Arraignment Attorney in Hudson County NJ?

An arraignment, whether at the Superior Court level or the Municipal Court level, is fundamentally the same. It is important that any individual facing an indictable or non-indictable offense retain legal counsel so as to ensure that their rights are being protected. The prosecutor may present the defendant with a plea offer at the arraignment. Therefore, having counsel present to analyze this offer and compare it to the strength of the prosecution’s case is a crucial part of any criminal case. The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced Hudson County NJ criminal defense firm. Our office has been representing individual’s charged with various criminal offenses like carjacking, aggravated assault, heroin distribution, terroristic threats and cocaine possession, in towns like Hoboken, Jersey City, Weehawken, Secaucus, North Bergen and Kearny for over fifteen years. If you would like a free initial consultation with any one of our eight Hudson County, New Jersey arraignment lawyers, please contact our Jersey City office at (201) 309-1800.