Free Consultation (732) 709-7757

NJ Law Blogs

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Jan 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Getting advice from a lawyer who has experience with New Jersey criminal law is always a smart choice. Even seemingly minor criminal charges can have life-altering consequences, and strictly enforced court procedures make it nearly impossible for an inexperienced person to present a compelling defense case.

If you're accused of a crime in the state of New Jersey, you need to hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer. Don't be fooled into thinking that your case “isn't a big deal” or that hiring a lawyer will make you look guilty.

You have valuable legal rights, regardless of guilt or innocence. If you're facing criminal charges, make sure to protect your rights by contacting an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

All NJ Criminal Charges Have the Potential for Significant Consequences

Everyone realizes that criminal charges for things like burglary or drug distribution can lead to imprisonment and other harsh penalties. However, even offenses that seem minor or common can lead to hefty fines, jail time, and the loss of other rights.

Many people assume that charges like driving under the influence, possession of a fake ID, or simple assault are commonplace and that it isn't worth hiring a lawyer. However, even petty offenses can create serious problems for your future.

Criminal penalties in New Jersey depend on the crime, specific facts of the case, and the defendant's prior criminal history. You should keep in mind that the consequences of a criminal conviction go beyond fines and jail time, and may not be obvious. Potential ramifications of a criminal conviction in NJ include:

  • Jail or prison
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Loss of driver's license or restrictions on the ability to drive
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Job loss or limitations on the ability to find employment
  • Inability to work in a school pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1
  • Negative impacts on a child custody case
  • Harsher consequences for future criminal charges

Experienced criminal defense lawyers at Villani & DeLuca can help you handle a variety of criminal charges. Even if your case seems minor, you should make sure that your rights are protected and that you are fighting for the best possible outcome.

You Need Someone to Protect Your Rights

No matter the charge, you have important legal rights in a NJ criminal case. These include the right not to speak with law enforcement, the right to review evidence, and the right to competent defense counsel. Exercising these rights will help ensure that you are treated fairly by courts and law enforcement.

You need a tough criminal defense lawyer to help protect you and your rights. If police mistreated you in some way, perhaps by stopping you illegally or conducting an unlawful search, a lawyer can help you fight to rectify the situation. Illegal actions by police can have a considerable impact on your case, but you must take legal action promptly to defend your rights.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking police or prosecutors will help you after you've been charged with a crime. Their job is to win criminal convictions, not to look out for your rights.

Some people mistakenly believe that if they explain their side of the story to a prosecutor or judge, then everything will be okay. Don't make the mistake of thinking that telling your side of the story will get your case dismissed. Prosecutors are almost always looking for evidence to use against you. If you inadvertently say the wrong thing, it could seriously damage your defense. Your words can be twisted and used against you, or you might lose a strategic advantage if your case goes to trial.

An accomplished criminal defense attorney can carefully present information on your behalf and will know how to work with the prosecutor to negotiate an advantageous plea bargain or dismissal. And if your case does proceed to trial, your lawyer will defend your rights in the courtroom as well. Prosecutors have legal obligations to share certain evidence and to prove the charges against you. Unfortunately, prosecutors are not always forthcoming with evidence or may attempt to use unfair and illegal tactics in court. An experienced NJ defense lawyer will fight to make sure your rights are protected throughout the case.

You Must Follow Complex Court Procedures

A typical criminal case requires knowledge of a wide range of laws. These include criminal statutes, court rules on procedures and evidence, constitutional rights, and binding precedent from previous court cases. Attempting to handle a criminal case without a strong understanding of these laws is not likely to yield the best results.

Successfully fighting a criminal case requires a robust understanding of concepts like:

  • The process of obtaining discovery, or evidence, from the prosecutor
  • How to file motions regarding illegally obtained evidence or other issues with the case
  • Hearsay and other rules of evidence
  • How to get your evidence admitted in court
  • Courtroom procedures
  • How to cross-examine witnesses
  • Sentencing laws and guidelines

Many courts strictly enforce legal rules and procedures, and failing to understand these concepts could ruin an otherwise strong case. For example, powerful evidence in your favor won't help you if you don't get it admitted in court. Getting help from a skilled lawyer will give you the best opportunity to fight your case.

A NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Make Tough Decisions and Plan for the Future

Criminal cases aren't easy to win and can leave you facing serious consequences. A qualified lawyer will not only protect your rights, but will also guide you in making tough decisions about your case.

When facing criminal charges, you may be unsure of whether you should accept a plea bargain or take your case to trial. While accepting a plea deal does mean admitting guilt and agreeing to certain penalties, those penalties are usually much less than what you would face if you lost at trial. In these cases, taking your case to trial can feel like a huge gamble, but you may not know whether the offered plea bargain is a good deal.

A compassionate and experienced lawyer will honestly discuss the strength of your case and explain possible outcomes. They can work to ensure that you are getting the best possible plea bargain offer before you decide what to do. Their expert knowledge of applicable laws, evidence, and the charges you face can help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Hiring knowledgeable defense counsel will also help ensure that you understand the future consequences of any decisions you make. If you do decide to accept a plea deal, your lawyer can work to make sure the written terms truly reflect the agreement and that you understand the requirements of the agreement. This representation can help you avoid unintended consequences.

When selecting a lawyer to help you with a criminal case, choose someone with local criminal defense experience. A lawyer who is familiar with the prosecutors handling your case can provide the best advice on whether a plea deal is fair and experience with local courts is a valuable resource when building an effective defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Villani & DeLuca are available 24/7 and ready to help.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today

Villani & DeLuca, P.C. is committed to answering your questions about Divorce & Family Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and DWI & Traffic Law issues in New Jersey. We offer a Free Consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.