How to Prepare for Central Judicial Processing in Hudson County NJ
Crimes in New Jersey are categorized in two main categories: disorderly persons offenses (similar to misdemeanors in other states) and indictable offenses (similar to felonies in other jurisdictions). If you are charged with the more serious of these types of offenses, known as an indictable offense, in Hudson County, NJ, your first court appearance will take place in a specialized criminal court called the Hudson County Central Judicial Processing Court known as “CJP” for short. This court appearance can be critical to the direction your case will take as it moves toward either disposition or trial. Here we provide the details you need to prepare for Central Judicial Processing in Hudson County.
What Is Central Judicial Processing (CJP)?
When you are arrested for and charged with a first, second, third, or fourth degree indictable offense in Hudson County, your first court appearance will be at a large, centralized court located at the Administration Building, 595 Newark Avenue, Jersey City. This Central Judicial Processing court appearance is similar to an initial arraignment hearing in other states. A prosecutor and a judge will both be in attendance. You may hire a private defense attorney to represent you at this hearing or you may have a public defender appointed to represent you (assuming you qualify for the public defender’s services). For information about where to go for court, visit our Hudson County Superior Court Information Page.
What Happens at a CJP Court Appearance?
When you first appear at Hudson County’s Central Judicial Processing Court, a judge will inform you of the indictable offenses that have been filed against you. Your defense attorney (or you, if you have chosen to proceed without the assistance of counsel) will likely also receive the initial discovery associated with your case.
The prosecutor present at Central Judicial Processing will have reviewed your case file and will have made an initial determination as to whether your case should continue as an indictable offense in Superior Court, whether it should be reduced to a disorderly persons offense and sent to Municipal Court, whether it should be sent to a grand jury, whether it may be appropriate for transfer to an Early Disposition Calendar, or, in some cases, whether the case should be dismissed.
Prosecutors typically give the best available plea offer based on the information available to them at the time in an Early Disposition Court proceeding. Having a defense attorney—who may be able to provide the prosecutor with new information and advocate on your behalf—present at your initial Hudson County Central Judicial Processing hearing can be a tremendous benefit to you, although dramatic outcomes like dismissal and reduction to a disorderly persons offense are not assured.
Why CJP Matters for Your Case
You should be aware that your appearance at Central Judicial Processing, although important, will NOT include a trial or other substantive hearing before the judge. This is an opportunity for your defense attorney (or you, if are representing yourself, although this is almost never advisable when you have been charged with an indictable offense) to discuss the case with the prosecutor and potentially secure a path to reduction and transfer to a municipal court where you face less severe criminal charges. If that path is not open to you—for example, if the evidence against you is overwhelming—Central Judicial Processing can provide you with a path toward securing the most lenient possible disposition through the Early Disposition track mentioned above. A seasoned criminal defense attorney can help you navigate this critical early phase of your case in Hudson County.
Need a Lawyer in Hudson County for Central Judicial Processing
If you have an upcoming court date for Central Judicial Processing in Jersey City, the highly experienced criminal defense lawyers at our firm can help. Our practice is dedicated to criminal defense and we regularly appear on behalf of clients in CJP court in Hudson County and throughout NJ. If you have been charged with an indictable offense such as robbery, aggravated assault, illegal gun possession, marijuana distribution, lewdness, or terroristic threats, we have what it takes to secure the best outcome in your case. We have been fighting for clients arrested in Kearny, Jersey City, Bayonne, Newark, Union City, Weehawken, and local communities for the better part of the last decade. For more information, call us now at (201) 793-8018 and we will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.