Teaneck NJ Pre-Indictment Conference Attorneys
Criminal Defense Lawyers in Bergen County, New Jersey
A pre-indictment conference is an opportunity for the State and the defense to conference a case and attempt to resolve it before the case is presented to the grand jury for an indictment. Usually, the State will make it’s best plea offer at this point and the plea offer will only go up from there if a defendant rejects it at the pre-indictment date. Facing a criminal charge in New Jersey can threaten your reputation, your livelihood, and many other components of your life. Fortunately, you do not need to travel these uncertain waters alone. An experienced criminal defense attorney can serve as your supporter, your defender, and your advocate as you confront what often seems an insurmountable challenge at the outset. The attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are passionate about what they do and dedicated to turning over every rock and pursuing every possible avenue to achieve the best possible outcomes for their clients. Whether your case involves charges for marijuana possession, disorderly conduct, burglary, or another offense, we will stop at nothing to obtain a successful resolution.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in New Jersey, our lawyers will employ their extensive knowledge of the law, solid connections, deft negotiation skills, and zealous advocacy to help you overcome the allegations against you. Contact our Hackensack offices anytime at (201)-330-4979 to receive a free consultation.
Pre-indictment Conferences in New Jersey’s Criminal Legal Process
If you’ve been charged with an indictable criminal offense in New Jersey, it is imperative that you are represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney. You will be facing prison time, significant fines, probation, and other potential penalties, including the suspension of your driver’s license. To start, your first appearance will be handled in the municipality in which you were charged. At this first appearance, you will be advised of your rights and the penalties against you. You will also enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty.” At this point, the case will be transferred up to the county (Superior Court level) to be handled. For example, if you are charged with marijuana distribution in Paramus, New Jersey, the case will be transferred to the Bergen County Superior Court in Hackensack, New Jersey to be handled by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
Once the case is transferred up to the county, the case will be listed for a pre-indictment conference. Each county has a different name for this pre-indictment conference. In Monmouth County, it is known as “PIP Court,” which stands for “Pre-indictment Proceeding.” Regardless, the pre-indictment conference process is the same in every county. At the conference, the prosecutor’s office will provide the defendant with limited discovery and the State’s best plea offer. The reason for this is that the State saves time and money if the case is resolved early. For example, at this point, the case would proceed by way of accusation because the case has not yet been presented to the grand jury for an indictment (the formal charging document). At the pre-indictment conference, the defendant will also have the opportunity to apply for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) if the defendant is eligible and the defendant is charged with a crime where PTI is an option (typically third degree and fourth degree crimes in New Jersey).
At the pre-indictment conference, several things can happen. First, the defendant can accept the plea offer and enter a plea to the negotiated plea agreement. Second, the defendant can reject the plea offer and allow the case to proceed through the system, starting with the grand jury. Third, the defendant can try to negotiate an even lower plea offer than that which has been offered by the State. Fourth, the defendant may be able to apply and be admitted into PTI (if the defendant is recommended for PTI by probation and the prosecutor’s office approves that recommendation). Finally, the case can be remanded to municipal court (depending on the nature of the original charges).
As you can see, this is a very important decision that must be made at the pre-indictment conference. If a defendant chooses to reject the initial plea offer, the case proceeds to the grand jury and, if the case is then indicted, the defendant will be arraigned on the charges. The plea offer undoubtedly gets worse after indictment, so a defendant must be properly advised by counsel when determining the appropriate action at the pre-indictment conference.