The unknown of what your sentencing will be, and when, can make it seem like your life is temporarily on hold. Fortunately, most states, including New Jersey, ensure that all defendants have a right to a speedy trial. This means that defendants can expect access to a trial within an appropriate period of time and recent legal changes have put specific timelines on that.
New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform
The state of New Jersey recently underwent a criminal justice reform. On January 1, 2017, the state made a shift from a monetary-based bail system to a process that is more objective. Essentially, the reform means that defendants will be moved through the system faster, and will no longer have to wait months and months for trial.
Indictment Requirements in New Jersey
The specific timeline of when a defendant can expect an indictment will depend, based on whether or not the defendant is still in jail. Defendants who are given the option for, and post, bail, can expect to wait longer for sentencing than an individual who is still in jail. Defendants who were denied bail, or who declined it, can usually expect indictment within 90 days. Then, it is expected that the case will either go to trial or will be resolved within 180 days of the indictment.
The same reform also limits the number of status conferences that can be held. Previously, without a limit, frequent status conferences could significantly slow down the process toward indictment. The latest rules to New Jersey law limits these conferences to just two, and in some cases, three status conferences.
Factors That Affect the Indictment Timeline
It is important to note that there are some factors that can affect the expected timeline to indictment. A few of these include:
- A case that involves mental incompetency
- Drug or mental health defenses
- A defendant undergoing criminal charges in another court
- A defendant failing to show up for court
- An assigned judge’s recusal
- Adjournment requests
- Natural disaster or uncontrollable acts
- An indictment that is dismissed
Other factors can also affect the timeline, including witness availability and a request to change legal representation. However, the indictment process must begin within the stated timeline.
When to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer For Your Case
While a faster indictment process will certainly speed up things in court, it can make the process of building your defense case seem rushed. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer will ensure that you are aware of the timeline, while giving you sufficient time to build your legal case.
Your criminal defense lawyer will help you evaluate your charges and determine your plea. They will also assist with gathering important documentation to build your case, including calling on expert witnesses, when needed. The timelines that are set by the state of New Jersey are strict, so it is important to begin this process as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced West Windsor Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Criminal Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with criminal charges in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at the Davis Law Firm, LLC have successfully represented clients charged with criminal charges in Trenton, Ewing, East Windsor, West Windsor, and throughout New Jersey. Call 609-587-9100 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
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