If you have recently discovered that there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest in New Jersey, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Avoiding the reality of this arrest warrant will only worsen your situation. Facing it head on with the help of an attorney can greatly improve the potential outcome of your case. Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions we are asked by clients when they find out about an outstanding warrant for them. If you have specific questions about how to handle the warrant for your arrest, contact our NJ criminal defense lawyers to discuss your options. Call us at (201) 793-8018 for immediate assistance or send us a message online.
Do I Have to Turn Myself in?
Yes. As painful and stressful as it may be to face criminal charges, especially if the police are not knocking on your door, doing so is necessary to mitigate the harm of these criminal charges to your life. Know that at some point and in one way or another, your past will catch up to you. Dealing with the situation proactively, with a lawyer at your side, and turning yourself in will ultimately increase your chances of receiving leniency from the judge.
Why Should I Call a Lawyer Before Going to the Police Station?
If you call a lawyer before you turn yourself in, he or she can help you to negotiate the terms of your surrender. Depending on the charges against you, this might include same-day processing and release from custody pending your trial. Your lawyer will also be able to go with you to the police station when you turn yourself in and will likely counsel you to not answer any questions about your case.
If the prosecutor files a motion for detention in your case, your lawyer can represent you at a detention hearing, which may occur the same day or just a few days later, and argue that you are not a danger to others or a flight risk and you will not obstruct justice. Specifically, your lawyer is likely to argue that the last factor is evidenced by your willingness to turn yourself in.
After you turn yourself in, your case will move to the next phase quickly. If you contact an attorney before you turn yourself in, not only will they be able to help negotiate your surrender to authorities, but they can start working on identifying and preparing available defenses to the charges against you right away.
Am I Going to Go to Jail?
Whether you will be sentenced to jail time for criminal charges depends on many factors. First, you must be convicted to be sentenced to prison and the law views you as innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution has the burden to prove you committed each element of the offense you are charged with beyond a reasonable doubt. Furthermore, there are diversionary programs available to first time offenders in New Jersey, which allow you to have the charges against you dismissed or discharged if you successfully fulfill the conditions of the program.
If you are convicted, you may be sentenced to jail time. Some offenses carry a presumption of incarceration and others—particularly fourth degree indictable offenses, the majority of third degree indictable offenses, and disorderly persons offenses committed by first time offenders—carry a presumption of non-incarceration. It is important to keep in mind that even a disorderly persons offense heard in municipal court can carry a jail sentence of 30 days to 6 months, if convicted.
Found Out I Have an Arrest Warrant in NJ, What Should I Do?
If you recently discovered that there is an outstanding warrant against you, do not wait another day before calling our knowledgeable and experienced team of New Jersey criminal defense lawyers. We will work with you to verify the warrant, negotiate a surrender plan with law enforcement, and begin working on your best defense strategy right away. You do not have to face this situation alone. Call our local Jersey City office today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with a Hudson County criminal attorney who can help.