Is it Ever a Good Idea to Take a Plea?

plead guilty

You have been charged with an offense in a Union County Superior Court or one of the Municipal Courts in Union County, New Jersey. Is there anything positive about taking a plea? The simple answer is that it depends on the situation and what is right for you. We all come from different walks of life, are in different stages of our lives, and have very different issues that need to be addressed. There is no one size fits all. In this article, our experienced Union County criminal defense lawyers explain some of the things to consider before deciding whether you should plead guilty or innocent. If you need help with criminal charges and would like to discuss how we can defend you, call our local Cranford office today at (908) 838-0150 to speak with an attorney.

Take a Plea in Union County Superior Court?

You will likely have a Pre-Indictment Conference if you have been charged with an indictable offense, meaning a first degree, second degree, third degree, or fourth degree crime. Other States may refer to indictable crimes as felonies. These cases are handled by the county prosecutor’s office in the Superior Court, Criminal Division, of the county in which the alleged offense occurred. Municipal court cases involving disorderly persons offenses do not entail a PIC conference, as only felonies are subject to indictment in New Jersey. A Pre-Indictment Conference is sometimes called a PIC, CC or Early disposition date. Regardless of what it is called, it is relatively the same across the State of New Jersey. A pre-indictment conference is a court date set by the Criminal Division with the hopes that all parties resolve the case. A resolution may mean a plea, Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), or dismissal. Sometimes the case cannot be worked out and it gets referred to the grand jury. Only you can decide if the deal is right for you.

Should I Plead Guilty in Union Township Municipal Court?

If you are going to municipal court, there is also a prosecutor there and you or your attorney will get in line to speak with the prosecutor. If you are unrepresented, you will wait in line with the rest of the community charged with an offense and wait to discuss a potential deal. You will often see attorneys skip to the front of the line. This is permitted by the rules of court. The attorney will speak with the prosecutor about the charges, the discovery (the information against you) and try to resolve the case while keeping in mind what is most important to you. The strength of the evidence and potential defenses available should be explained by your lawyer so that you understand all of your options.

Charged With a Crime in Roselle Park, How Do I Decide What to Do?

Before you make any decisions, tell your attorney what is important to you. For instance, you may have been charged with a felony/indictable offense for possession of a controlled dangerous substance such as heroincocaine, or prescription drugs. These are crimes of the third degree. Your only concern may be that you not have a felony on your record. The attorney may be able to work out the case by suggesting to the prosecutor that you would plead guilty to the disorderly persons offense of failure to turnover CDS (not a felony) and the case could be resolved that day. In that situation, the attorney worked out the case keeping in mind what is most important to you.

In another example, maybe a plea is not right for you. Perhaps you are going through a divorce and your soon to be ex-spouse alleges that you have abused your child. You may tell your attorney, I cannot plead guilty because I will lose custody of my child. Maybe no plea will ever be right for you. Perhaps the municipal court keeps rescheduling your case and you keep missing work. If you are paid hourly and are in jeopardy of losing your job, a plea to something that requires only a fine may be right for you. The case will end that day and you may feel relieved that the case is over and your job is intact.

Facing a Criminal Charge in Elizabeth, Now What?

Being charged with a crime is a serious predicament and being offered a deal usually adds to the confusion. Maybe the deal is not right for you, it is not the right time to make a deal, or you may just want a trial. Whatever the reason may be, the choice is up to you. If you choose not to take the deal, the prosecutor does not have to offer it to you again. At the end of the day, you have to decide whether the risk is worth the reward. Meaning, whatever you decide, you have to make sure that the decision is right for you. The criminal defense attorneys at our firm can help you make an educated decision. Contact us today at (908) 838-0150 to discuss your specific situation and see how we may be of help.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.