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Criminal law governs any case in which the government seeks to punish someone, usually by incarceration for a period of time and/or a fine, for violating a criminal statute. In New Jersey, the governmental authority is either the State of New Jersey or the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
State criminal prosecutions may be initiated by municipal police, county police, state police or the New Jersey Attorney General's Office. Misdemeanors, such as simple assault, are usually prosecuted in municipal court and are heard by a judge sitting without a jury. The same is trus of DWIs. However, if the violation occurred in a county park or other county property, the complaint may be filed by the county police and the case heard by a Superior Court Judge in the county seat, again without a jury. There are Federal misdemeanors, such as theft of a Social Security check, which may be heard by a United States Magistrate Judge.
Felonies are usually prosecuted by Indictment returned by a Grand Jury, to whom the state or federal prosecutor presented the case. A defendant charged with a felony has the right to trial by jury in both state and federal courts, presided over in state court by a Superior Court Judge, and in federal court by a United States District Judge. No one can be convicted of a felony unless the government proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of twelve who must return a unanimous guilty verdict. Defendants in both courts also enjoy the right of appeal.
Criminal procedure differs between New Jersey State and Federal Courts, and there are some differences in the rules of evidence between the two. It is becoming increasingly more common for the Federal government to "adopt" cases which the same act is a violation of both state and federal law, such as carjacking. It is therefore important to have legal counsel experienced in both court systems.
Our firm offers legal counsel experienced in Criminal Defense in Federal and New Jersey State Courts, including:
If you have been charged with a crime, or if the government has advised you that you are a target of a Grand Jury investigation, we can guide you through the challenges you face, no matter what they are. We can help to ensure that in the event of a prosecution, your legal rights remain secure.
Have questions or would like to make an appointment? Call us at 201 400-8351 or use our contact form.
Phone: (201) 400-8351
Robert J. Olejar, Esq. CPA, CFE
American Barrister® LLC
Or use our contact form.
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