If It’s Clear That Your Client Will Face Conviction, Is There a Way to Mitigate the Charges or Reduce Any Sort of Mandatory Sentencing?
There’s always a way that you can work to try to minimize the time they’re looking at. Our aim is to have the prosecutor look at these people in a different light, so one thing the defendant can do is agree to give truthful testimony. You have to give a truthful, factual statement anyway when you’re put under oath, so you’re not giving up anything to agree to do that in your plea negotiation deal. If you have co-defendants who go to trial, you’ll agree to give factual statements. It’s not as though you’re telling on someone who’s not charged or ratting on someone; they already have proof on everybody or there wouldn’t be charges. You’re just agreeing with the prosecutor that you’ll give truthful factual statements, and that’s what usually gets us a little better deal.
What About for First-Time Offenders?
We can often negotiate some sort of probationary or introductory term for most first-time offenders, unless it’s a large amount of drugs, which will put you in jail for even a first-time offense. Drug court’s another option for offenders, including second- and third- time offenders. People with a drug problem can get into drug court to avoid prison. The court will do an evaluation and determine what you need: inpatient, outpatient, or some sort of rehab. That’s a tool that we use to help somebody who gets charged avoid jail.
It’s important to note they don’t like to let dealers into drug court. But there are dealers who have drug problems also, and if we can prove that there is a problem, they will be able to admit them to drug court, which means the dealer can avoid prison time.
Why Is It So Important to Hire Someone With Your Breadth of Experience When Facing Charges? Why Should I Hire You?
This is what you have to consider. If you have a criminal charge, that will severely change the course of your life. It could be your freedom, your job, a criminal record at stake. If you were to open the phonebook, you’ll find a thousand lawyers, and a hundred of them might claim to be criminal experts. Out of that hundred, only three percent are certified criminally by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. I tell people to ask potential lawyers three things. Are you certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a criminal trial attorney? (You’ll be able to weed out many of these people who claim to be experts who, for some reason, are not certified.) Have you been a prosecutor? (By being a prosecutor, you learn the other side of this business and what you can and can’t do with certain charges.) Do you practice only criminal? (You don’t want someone who dabbles in divorces on Monday, real estate on Tuesday, bankruptcy on Wednesday and on Friday tries to do your criminal case.)
Criminal’s a full-time occupation and you want a lawyer who’s doing it full-time to handle your criminal case. I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years. You gain the experience, you’ve seen situations before, you’ve tried different things, you have different angles that you can come at the problem with, and you have resources. If you want to talk it over with other guys in your profession at the same level, I have a whole network of people who talk every day about certain cases and different ideas we have.
You want someone with an office. Some of these younger guys are meeting people in Burger King and taking $500 off of them. You want a more professional setting, somewhere you know you can go and find the lawyer you’re paying. You want someone who knows these players, who knows the prosecutors. We rely on these people to cut some of the deals, and I can tell them, “Hey, this is a good kid from a good family who made a mistake and here’s why,” or, “He runs his own business and has two jobs.” When you know the players and you’ve been doing this for a while and they believe what you’ll say to them, you can get certain outcomes that other people won’t be able to get. Therefore, picking your criminal lawyer is probably the most important thing you’re going to do through the whole representation. Figure out who are you’re most comfortable with and confident in.
One thing about being certified is that I do a certain amount of continuing legal education. Not only do I teach some of these courses, but I go to them myself to keep abreast of new laws, new changes in the law, and new cases that come out. I have to do a certain amount of hours. I’ve done over 500 hours of continuing legal education, which other lawyers don’t do. Between the continuing education, the experience over all these years, and the time spent on both sides, prosecution and defense, along with the recommendations or certifications of the New Jersey Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court, I’m someone who knows the law.
Some potential clients think we’re out of their reach or unaffordable. They’re mistaken. Our fees will be in line with a lot of these people with less experience, with less stuff hanging on the walls, and with fewer positive results. You’ll be very surprised that we could have something that allows you to afford the best.
What Do You Say to Someone Who Is Facing Serious Charges and Thinks Their Case is Hopeless?
No matter what your case looks like, I might be the difference between probation and jail or, perhaps, jail and prison. Prison is one year or more incarcerated, while jail is less than a year or while you’re awaiting trial. I may be the difference between three years in prison and five years in prison. That person’s going to prison either way, but I just saved them two years of their life. What is that worth? Don’t you owe it to yourself to try and get the best attorney?
I don’t promise people they’re not going to prison when they are. I’ve been doing this long enough and have stayed out of trouble by telling people the truth. Each case is different, but no matter whether you’re looking at prison versus jail or jail versus probation, who you hire is going to make a difference one way or another.
No matter what your situation is, how bad you think it is, you need a good attorney to get through that. Every single case has a range that it can end up in, and if you have someone who looks at your case once a month, you’re going to end up at the higher end of that range normally. I really don’t care what the reason is. If I can get a lower deal for someone because I called the prosecutor every day, all right. We will work for you, get success on your side.
For more information on Drug Charges in New Jersey, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (856) 499-8066 today.