Since the introduction of bail reform in New Jersey in January of 2017 there have been important changes in how criminal charges for domestic violence are processed after an initial arrest. The most notable change is presumption that domestic violence charges, even minor ones like simple assault, harassment, and stalking, be on a warrant instead of a summons. Charges that are placed on a warrant result in the accused being placed in detention in the Monmouth County Jail until they can be brought before a Judge. This is a marked change from the prior system of monetary bail and makes it crucial to retain attorneys sooner rather than later in order best position the accused for release pending the disposition of the charges. This essentially means that money that was initially best spent on bail bondsman in the past, now is better spent on legal counsel that can immediately begin advocating for the accused’s release at the first appearance or if necessary at a detention hearing.
The First Appearance:
In cases where the accused is being placed on a warrant and detained he/she must be brought before a Judge for a first appearance within forty-eight hours of arrest. At this first appearance critical information is gathered that will render a score based on set criteria. This score is the primary factor the Prosecutor will use in determining whether to move to detain the accused or release them with certain conditions, or release them with no special conditions (release on own recognizance). The domestic violence attorneys at Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC have moved quickly to appear at the first appearances, even on weekends, and have provided critical information to the Prosecutor and the Judge which materially changed the initial score of the accused and resulted in the client’s release and or a change in the special conditions such as no return to scene and no victim contact. This first step is important because if the prosecutor moves for detention at the first appearance it will mean that the accused will be detained for at least another three days until the detention hearing can be held.
In cases where the Prosecutor has moved for detention at the first appearance, a detention hearing will be scheduled three days from the date of the first appearance. At this detention hearing the accused’s attorney is entitled to all of the discovery (police reports, victim statements, etc…) that forms the basis of the prosecutor’s application for detention. The attorney for the accused has the ability subpoena witnesses to testify and the accused themselves may elect to testify at the detention hearing. In essence, detention hearings can result in mini trials of the initial evidence in the case and a skilled attorney can successfully attack the State’s case at this very early stage. It cannot be understated how important it is to have counsel who is not only skilled in domestic violence matters but is also an accomplished trial attorney.
Experienced Trial Counsel in Domestic Violence Matters
The domestic violence defense attorneys have decades of trial experience and have handled all manner of domestic violence charges, along with temporary restraining order cases that often accompany criminal charges. Once we are retained we move aggressively to have our clients released at the earliest stages of any criminal case so that our clients don’t spend time in jail while the charges are pending and so they can return to work and their lives. We know how to deal with difficult aspects of these kinds of cases including when the accused is barred from returning home, or seeing their children, or other loved ones. As a result of how hard we fight these kinds of cases the vast majority of both the criminal charges for domestic violence and the restraining orders handled by our attorneys result in outright dismissals of the actions. We’ll help you or your loved one if they are facing criminal charges for domestic violence, a restraining order, or both. Call us today at (732) 303-7857 for a free consultation with one of our partners.