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First NJ Court Appearance

First NJ Court Appearance

First NJ Court Appearance - The Basics

The court process can be frightening, but your first NJ court appearance does not have to be. This is simply a way to “check in.” In fact, you should think of your first NJ court appearance as you would a first day of school: It’s primarily administrative.

Like the first day of school?

Remember your school days? On the first day, you walked in and were given a schedule. You went to each class, met your teachers, and received your textbooks. You saw people you knew and met new people. The same will be true for your first NJ court appearance. At this time, the judge will call the roll, so to speak, and then check your name off his list.

Protecting your rights

You have certain rights, and the judge will make sure you understand those rights. For example, you have a right to an attorney. The judge will ask if you have an attorney. If you don’t have one at your first NJ court appearance, the judge will ask if you intend to get one. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can apply for a public defender or a court-appointed attorney. This application is simple. You fill it out, and the judge reviews it; he will either approve or deny your request based on your income.

Making sure you have representation is the primary order of business during your first NJ court appearance. After that, the judge will ensure that you understand the charges you’re facing. You have a constitutional right to know what you are accused of, and the judge will read to you the charges and the consequences of those charges. For example, if the charge is a misdemeanor, the judge may tell you that you face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Or, if the charge is a felony, the judge may say that you face five years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Now you know that you need an attorney, what you have been accused of and what consequences you face. The next step during this first NJ court appearance will be your plea. The judge will ask how you plead. It’s important to note that 100 percent of the time, during your first NJ court appearance, you will enter a plea of “Not Guilty.” Usually this is done through your defense attorney, but if you do not yet have a lawyer, tell the judge, “I’m entering a not guilty plea, and I want to get an attorney.” The judge will enter your plea and then give you a set time – maybe two weeks or 30 days – to get an attorney.

Where is it?

The location of your first NJ court appearance will depend on the type of charges you are facing. If you’re facing an indictable offense, then your matter will be heard in county court. On the other hand, if your matter involves a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor), then your matter will be heard in Municipal court.

If you are facing a disorderly persons offenses, DWI, traffic ticket, or municipal ordinance, then your first NJ court appearance will take place in municipal court. If you were arrested in Hackensack, then your case will be in Hackensack municipal court. If you were arrested in Newark, then your case will be in Newark municipal court. Get the idea?

The municipal prosecutor is responsible for prosecuting you. As your criminal lawyers, we plea bargain with the prosecutor to get you the best result possible. Sometimes, we can get the charges dismissed. Other times, we can work out a plea deal to downgrade your charge so that you avoid jail & pay a low fine. We also consider different diversionary programs that you may be eligible for and work with the prosecutor to get you admitted.

For example, if you’re facing marijuana possession charges and have a clean record, you may be eligible for a conditional discharge. When you successfully complete the program, your charges will be dismissed. It’s like it never happened.

In addition to showing the judge that you are serious about your case, it is equally important for you to appear at your first NJ court appearance so we can show the prosecutor that you are serious. Making a good impression on the prosecutor helps us when we’re negotiating on your behalf. 

For example, what will a prosecutor think if your lawyer is in court arguing your case but you didn’t care enough to show up? If your name is called and you are not present during your first NJ court appearance, it makes our job of defending you that much harder. 

Your first NJ court appearance is that simple!

And that’s it. You’re not going to trial during your first NJ court appearance. You won’t be convicted on your first day at court. Rarely will the police officers be involved on this day. Prosecutors will be there, and defense attorneys, too. There will also be other people just like you. You will not be asked about your case or questioned in any way.

Be prepared to wait

The court environment is very quiet, organized, and structured. During your first NJ court appearance, you may be sitting in pews, similar to those in places of worship – a church or a synagogue. Remember, you may be sitting there for a while, because courts do take time, and a first NJ court appearance is no exception. It could take an hour, or two, or three, until your case is called. 

 

If you have an attorney, your case will be among the first to be called. If you don’t have an attorney, that’s fine; just be prepared to wait a little longer. Basically, that’s the whole process: You go before a judge, you answer questions concerning your rights, and you enter your plea. After that, your first NJ court appearance is done.

The most important thing

The most important thing to remember is that you need to show up for your first NJ court appearance. By showing up, you show respect for the legal process, and you show the court that you take your legal case seriously.

Will I be notified about my court date?

When the police arrest you, they generate a complaint which has all the details about the criminal charges you’re facing. The complaint will contain:

  • the jurisdiction (the location where the alleged crime occurred);
  • the name of the victim(s);
  • the date of the arrest;
  • the section of the criminal code;
  • and the date of your first NJ court appearance.

However, don’t rely on the date contained in your complaint about that first NJ court appearance. At our firm, we always contact the court to confirm those details, because dates are subject to change.

 

During your first NJ court appearance, the judge will confirm your address to make certain that you will receive notices for all future court dates. As your attorneys, we receive duplicate notices and confirm our attendance with the court.

Do I need an attorney for my first NJ court appearance?

We strongly recommend that you retain counsel before the first appearance. From experience, we know that the sooner we are involved in your case, the more time we have to develop an effective defense strategy.

Also, the process is incredibly stressful. Having counsel at your side goes a long way towards decreasing your anxiety about the process.

Do I need an attorney for my first NJ court appearance?

We strongly recommend that you retain counsel before the first appearance. From experience, we know that the sooner we are involved in your case, the more time we have to develop an effective defense strategy.

Also, the process is incredibly stressful. Having counsel at your side goes a long way towards decreasing your anxiety about the process.

How do I prepare for my court date?

Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your first NJ court appearance. Here are a few important things you will need to do:

  • Find the court address. You want to be on time, and the court may or may not have a parking lot. You may have to park on the street, and you may even have to walk a few blocks.
  • Dress appropriately. (We’ll discuss that in more detail below.)
  • Be prepared to go through security.
  • Make sure you have all your paperwork with you.
  • Take a form of identification.
  • You don’t have to have an interpreter. The court will provide one in any language.

 

It’s best to arrive early for your first NJ court appearance. Always expect a line of people waiting to go through court security. Make sure you do not bring any weapons or illegal drugs to court. If you do, the police will arrest you, and you’ll face new charges.

How should i dress?

You should dress appropriately for your first NJ court appearance. You do not have to wear a suit and tie or fancy dress, but remember what they say about first impressions.

Where will my first NJ court appearance be?

The type of charges you are facing will determine where you will go for your first NJ court appearance. If you are facing an indictable offense, your matter will be heard in county court, but if it involves a disorderly persons offense (a misdemeanor), your matter will be heard in municipal court.

How does the municipal court process work?

Matters heard at the municipal level include, disorderly persons offenses, DWIs, traffic tickets, or municipal ordinances, and the court will be determined based on where you are arrested. So if you’re arrested in Hackensack, your case will be in Hackensack municipal court, and if you’re arrested in Newark, your case will be in Newark municipal court. The municipal prosecutor will be responsible for prosecuting you.

As your criminal lawyers, we plea bargain with the prosecutor to get you the best result possible. Sometimes we get your charges dismissed. Other times, we can work out a plea deal to downgrade your charge so that you avoid jail and pay a low fine.

We also consider different diversionary programs you may be eligible for and work with the prosecutor to get you admitted. For example, if you’re facing marijuana possession charges and have a clean record, you may be eligible for a conditional discharge. When you successfully complete the program, your charges will be dismissed, like they never happened.

In addition to showing the judge that you are serious about your case, it is equally important in municipal court for you to be present at your first NJ court appearance so we can show the prosecutor that you are serious. Making a good impression on the prosecutor helps us when we’re negotiating on your behalf.

Can I take friends or family?

Yes, friends and family may accompany you to your first NJ court appearance, but they will sit in the gallery. They should also be prepared to wait until your case is called. They cannot read, eat, or drink anything while in the courtroom, and once the judge is seated, they must be silent.

Will I be questioned at this time?

If you have an attorney, that attorney will speak on your behalf. If you don’t have an attorney, the court will ask if you intend to hire one, but the judge won’t ask you about your case or any legal defenses you have. The first appearance isn’t the time for you to tell your side of the story. The resolution of your case is a long process. If you aren’t represented by a lawyer, it’s better to plead not guilty and request time to hire an attorney.

Can I miss my first NJ court appearance?

If you miss your first court date, the judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest. You will also receive a failure to appear (FTA) notation, and the court can assess an additional fine. Missing your first NJ court appearance is never a good idea.

What if you cannot make your court date?

There are exceptional circumstances that are out of everyone’s control – such as a car accident, an illness, or hospitalization. In those cases, it is understandable that you would miss your court date. However, prepare to provide evidence for your extenuating circumstance. The court will ask you for it.

If you absolutely cannot make your first NJ court appearance, and you know this in advance, an adjournment request can be made. If you have retained an attorney to represent you, you can ask your attorney to file the adjournment request. The court will consider the request, and most judges will grant it. These adjournment requests should never be abused, however. Courts keep track of how many adjournment requests a defendant makes and will deny those requests if made excessively.

What if the judge issues a bench warrant?

If you missed your first NJ court appearance, and the judge issued a bench warrant, contact us so that we can help you get it removed. One of our Jersey City clients faced simple assault charges in Hudson County and missed the first three court dates. The judge issued a bench warrant for our client and set a high bail. This meant that if our client got arrested, he would have to post bail to get released. After the client retained us, we filed a motion to lift the bench warrant and brought our client to court. We successfully admitted our client into the conditional dismissal program, and he avoided jail and getting a criminal record.

What about recordings?

Everything in court is recorded even when you are at your first NJ court appearance. There are tiny microphones everywhere, and everything that is said will be recorded. Court sessions are recorded in the event you wish to appeal the court’s decision.

Recordings exist to protect everyone involved in a court proceeding. It is the best way to avoid misunderstandings and confusion about how your case unfolds. So be careful about what you say while you are sitting in court. There is a good chance that a microphone is picking up every word.

in conclusion

Navigating the criminal justice system can be overwhelming, but your first NJ court appearance does not have to be frightening. Knowing what to expect and how the process works should put your mind at ease. Don’t forget, we understand your fears and concerns, and we are here to help you.

How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

Our Practice Areas

Below you will find some but not all of our practice areas. Of course, if you do not see your criminal charges listed, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. We will meet with you to discuss your case & to answer all of your legal concerns. Se habla español tambien!

Areas We Serve

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent criminal lawyers in the Hackensack area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

What our clients say about us

Peyrouton Law
4.9
Based on 252 reviews
Kyle Haller
Kyle Haller
1713472758
Alan was by far the most effective and professional lawyer i have ever delt with. He is extremely responsive and effective in conversation. It was a pleasure choosing him to defend me and I wouldn’t recommend him to all my family and friends.
neils1205
neils1205
1712948281
Excellent attorney. From my first interaction with him he was meticulous, caring and knowledgeable. He explained the nature of my case, strategy to proceed forward and possible ways to resolve the issue. He was quick to respond to my questions and concerns, and was very encouraging when I expressed doubts about my case. He guided me step by step throughout the process. Apart from being an excellent attorney he is also a great person. He was even-keeled with a wonderful temperament. I highly, highly recommend him.
Hyosang Min
Hyosang Min
1712800200
Alan is a fantastic attorney. His empathy, expertise, and experience really made a distressing process, manageable. He was always reachable and available to answer our questions and guide us through our most recent legal situation. The most reassuring part of working with Alan is that he's literally the lawyer handling your case and communications, unlike other attorneys or large firms where you may get passed around. Bottom line, if you want results, hire Alan!
Mladen Golubovic
Mladen Golubovic
1712432826
Alan is an exceptional attorney. We met with 4 attorneys before we met with Alan and we couldn't believe how patient, humble and knoweldgeable he was. The other 4 lawyers were so arrogant and impatient and they tried to scare us and demanded insane amounts of money. Alan was the opposite. He patiently answered all of our questions and quoted us a reasonable price. We felt so comfortable with Alan that we hired him instantly. My wife said that she felt his compassion and trusted him. Throughout his representation of me, he always reached out to explain each step of the way and what would happen. He held my hand throughout the process and never asked for more money. He resolved my case quickly because it was nonsense to begin with and wwe couldn't be more grateful. I highly recommend him.
Cesar Rondon
Cesar Rondon
1711937007
I had a great experience working with Alan. His communication was clear and timely. I felt well supported throughout the legal process. I am confident in his guidance. I highly recommend Alan for his service.
Nick Ioso
Nick Ioso
1711481892
Amazing lawyer! Very easy to work with & provided exceptional service! Would most definitely recommend Alan to anybody seeking assistance.
Donny Ortiz
Donny Ortiz
1710350929
Highly recommend Mr.Peyrouton. He was very understanding & patient with me throughout the case and overall a great guy. You won’t regret it!
Daniel Vasquez
Daniel Vasquez
1710335361
Mr Peyrouton did an amazing job representing me. From our first encounter until the end of the process. Very easy to talk to, explains everything clear and had my best interest at heart.
Trineya Jernigan
Trineya Jernigan
1709878861
Our Attorney Alan Peyrouton ( P E Y R O U T O N ) was absolutely a blessing from GOD. We were in search for an attorney for my Husband and my mother-in-law came across Alan's website December 15th 2023 . From the first point of contact we were assured that, we were dealing with serious chargers and that He ( Alan ) was going to do everything in his power to make sure my husband gets home to me and his family. Alan was retained after the detention hearing witch meant he had to work extra hard. By all means that's exactly what Alan did, kept strong communication throughout the process, working while everyone else was on vacation for the Christmas and New Years Holidays. Alan spent serval hours with my husband getting to know him as a human being, After the first interaction they had Alan knew that my husband wasn't suppose to be in jail and that he was innocent. Alan wanted justice for us and he proved that at each hearing, representing my Husband with Integrity, Honor and Respect. I am grateful and will forever be appreciative for what he has done for us. We were looking at a 10 year plus sentence witch would have been detrimental to us especially to our kids. Alan was dedicated and consistent with providing professional and genuine representation, because of that he won our case!!!!!!!! Because of Alan my Husband didn't have to do any prison time & will be home with us this year! Thank you for everything you have done for our family, May God continue to Bless you and your family. Thanks again!I recommend Alan to anyone who's in need of the best attorney in New Jersey. Have faith in God & know that Alan will truly fight for you.
Hector Castilloveitia
Hector Castilloveitia
1709832038
Excelente Abogado. Gracias por tus servicios.
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