Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney Serving Clients Throughout New Jersey
The outcome of your criminal matter is likely to have a tremendous impact on your family, your job, and your reputation within the community. With so much at stake and so much uncertainty, it is only natural to feel nervous and unsettled. The most important step to relieving the stress associated with a recent arrest is to retain an experienced and compassionate Bergen County criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
A Conviction Can Have Life-Altering Consequences, So You Need to Fight for Your Rights
Under New Jersey law, all crimes carry the potential for jail time. A DUI (which is classified as a traffic offense) can also land you in jail. If you or your child has been charged with a juvenile offense, then detention, community service, counseling, restitution and other penalties could all be on the table.
Beyond fines and jail time, having a conviction on your record can impact your life in other ways as well. You could find it difficult to get into school or land a job, and you could lose your right to carry firearms and your right to vote. Certain offenses can also result in your being denied access to your children or your own home. While many convictions are eventually eligible for expungement (after 10 years), this is a long time to wait before you start putting the pieces of your life back together.
While it is possible to face these consequences following an arrest, it is also possible to defend yourself. There are numerous potential defenses to criminal, DUI and juvenile charges in New Jersey; and, while each case is different, Scott Gorman can use his experience to build the strongest possible case for the best possible result. Regardless of your circumstances, you should not give up hope. Call The Gorman Law Firm at 201-489-9199 to speak with a Bergen County criminal defense attorney and start working on your case today.
No Matter the Crime, A Bergen County Criminal Defense From Our Firm Will Strive for Your Best Defense
Scott Gorman handles all types of criminal cases in Bergen County. Whether you have been charged with a disorderly persons offense, indictable offense, juvenile offense or DUI, Scott can use his extensive experience to fight for your freedom in court. Choose from the links below to learn more about your case and the defenses you may have available:
- Domestic Violence -Accusations of domestic violence can have immediate consequences. Even if the accusations against you are entirely false, you need to take action in order to protect yourself. Scott Gorman regularly handles domestic violence cases and he can help you fight against charges.
- Drug Crimes – Drug crimes, including cultivation, manufacturing, trafficking and possession with intent to distribute, carry severe penalties in New Jersey. If you are awaiting trial on drug charges, it is important that you speak with a Bergen County criminal defense attorney immediately.
- DUI – New Jersey law imposes serious penalties for first-time and repeat DUI offenders. If you are facing a DUI charge in Bergen County, jail time, fines, loss of driving privileges, alcohol education and counseling, insurance surcharges, and mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices are all on the table.
Disorderly Persons Offenses vs. Indictable Offenses in New Jersey
In New Jersey, crimes are classified as either “disorderly persons offenses” or “indictable offenses.” These classifications are similar to misdemeanors and felonies in other states. Disorderly persons offenses are further broken down into two classes of offenses, while there are four “degrees” of indictable crimes in New Jersey.
Penalties for Disorderly Persons Offenses (Misdemeanors) in New Jersey
Minor offenses are prosecuted as either disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons offenses – with petty disorderly persons offenses being the least serious. However, these offenses still carry the potential for fines and jail time, and you will want to speak with a Bergen County criminal attorney if you have been charged with any type of crime:
- Disorderly Persons Offenses – Up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
- Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses – Up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine
Penalties for Indictable Offenses (Felonies) in New Jersey
Indictable offenses are the felony-level crimes in New Jersey. Maximum prison sentences start at 18 months for fourth-degree crimes and go all the way up to life behind bars. The potential fines for indictable offenses range widely as well – from $10,000 for a fourth-degree indictable offense to $200,000 for a first-degree crime:
- Fourth-Degree Indictable Offense – Up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Third-Degree Indictable Offense – Three to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine
- Second-Degree Indictable Offense – Five to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine
- First-Degree Indictable Offense – 10 to 20 years in prison and a $200,000 fine (for most crimes; the most-serious felonies carry up to 30 years in prison or life behind bars)
What Happens After You Get Arrested in Bergen County
After you get arrested for a crime in Bergen County, the criminal justice process moves quickly. You will need to quickly prepare for your first appearance in court, and your first step should be to speak with an experienced Bergen County criminal attorney. When you contact The Gorman Law Firm about your criminal case, attorney Scott Gorman will make arrangements to meet with you as soon as possible, and he will explain everything you need to know about protecting your legal rights both in and out of court.
Will your case go to trial? Maybe. At this point, it is simply too early to tell. However, what we can tell you is that there are various defense strategies Scott can utilize to try to resolve your case without going in front of a jury. That said, if going to trial is what it takes to protect you, Scott will rely on his decade-plus of experience representing criminal defendants in New Jersey to present the strongest possible case for acquittal.
No matter what type of charge (or charges) you are facing, at this point, your future is in your hands. You can do nothing and let the prosecutor’s office present its case against you. Or, you can hire a defense lawyer to fight for your freedom on your behalf.
Q&A with Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Gorman
Q: If I plead guilty to a crime, will this help reduce my sentence?
While many people believe that pleading guilty and therefore “accepting responsibility” for their actions will result in a reduced sentence, this is not necessarily the case. Moreover, regardless of the circumstances at hand, you should never assume that you will be found guilty in court. Before you make any decisions that could jeopardize your future, you need to discuss your case with an experienced Bergen County criminal defense lawyer.
Q: Can the police search my car or home without a warrant?
In some circumstances, yes, the police can conduct a warrantless search in Bergen County. However, there are a variety of potential issues with warrantless searches, and, if the police violated your Fourth Amendment rights, you may be able to have key evidence suppressed from your case.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a criminal defense attorney in New Jersey?
While you will need to pay your attorney’s legal fees, the costs of mounting a successful defense will almost always pale in comparison to the consequences of facing a conviction without legal representation. During your free initial consultation, we will be happy to discuss the potential costs involved in engaging our firm as well as the risks involved in going to court unrepresented.
Q: What happens next after I get arrested or receive a summons?
Once you are arrested or served with a summons to appear in municipal court, the initial stages of the criminal justice process move fairly quickly. It is important that you speak with a defense attorney as soon as possible, as your attorney may have to represent you in court in as little as 48 hours. The stages of a criminal case following an arrest or the issuance of a summons in New Jersey are:
- First Appearance
- Pre-Indictment Proceedings
- Plea Bargaining
- Diversionary Programs
- Presentencing Investigation and Sentencing
Q: What happens if I miss my first appearance?
During your first appearance, the judge will decide whether to release you on conditions or bail or order pretrial detention. If you do not show up for your first appearance, then the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest. Not only will this result in you being sent to jail while you await trial, but it also isn’t going to win you any favors for the remainder of your case.
Q: What should I do if there is a warrant out for my arrest?
If there is a warrant out for your arrest, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer immediately. In most cases, it will be in your best interests to turn yourself in to the police rather than waiting to be arrested (which will happen eventually), and your defense attorney will be able to negotiate the terms of your surrender in advance. If you do not surrender, you run the risk of being arrested anywhere at any time, including at work or while you are spending time with your children.
Q: What are my rights if the police come to my home?
If the police come to your home, you do not have to let them in unless they have a search warrant. If the police say they have a warrant, you are entitled to see it, and you are also entitled to contact a lawyer immediately. If they don’t have a warrant, should you let them in? While it may seem like a good idea to show that you don’t have anything to hide, the reality is that voluntarily letting the police conduct a search without your Bergen County criminal defense lawyer present is almost never a good idea.
Q: What should I do when the police want to question me?
You have the right to remain silent, and you should exercise this right to make sure you don’t say something that could jeopardize your defense. If the police try to question you, politely tell them that you are exercising your right to remain silent and state that you would like to speak with your attorney. Also, try to remember when, or if, the police read your Miranda rights (“You have the right to remain silent . . .”). If you were questioned in custody without having been read your rights, this may prevent the prosecution from using your statements against you.
Q: Is it okay to talk to my family members about my case?
Right now, the only person with whom you should be discussing your case is your Bergen County criminal defense lawyer. The time will come when you can explain everything to your family, but if you talk to your family members now, the prosecutor’s office may subpoena them to testify against you in court. The same goes for your friends and social media: Until your case is over, you should not be saying, texting or posting anything that could potentially be used against you.
Q: Do I need a Bergen County criminal defense attorney if I am innocent?
Yes, unfortunately you do. Even if you are absolutely certain that you have not committed a crime, you must still defend yourself effectively in order to avoid a guilty verdict at trial. Studies have shown that wrongful convictions are alarmingly common, and, if there is evidence that puts you at the scene of the crime at the time it was committed, you could be at risk for a conviction.
Q: Is it worth it to hire an attorney if I am guilty?
Yes, absolutely. Even if we assume that you committed a crime under New Jersey law (which you should not do), you could still have several different defenses available. Depending on the circumstances at hand, these defenses could result in a dismissal, or, at the very least, they could limit the fines and jail time that are on the table. The consequences of a criminal conviction can go well beyond your sentence, and you have every reason to fight your charges to the fullest extent possible.
Have an Experienced and Dedicated Criminal Lawyer on Your Side
Scott dedicated himself to the pursuit of justice by concentrating his practice in the area of criminal defense after his first year of practicing law when he worked at a nationally recognized and well-respected corporate law firm. In an effort to remain vigilant and to stay current on the latest developments in criminal defense and to hone his advocacy skills, he is an active member of organizations such as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. His effectiveness as a Bergen County criminal defense attorney has been recognized by his recent selection by (201) Magazine as one of Bergen County’s Top Lawyers in the areas of criminal defense and appellate practice. In addition, Scott has been selected by SuperLawyers as a Rising Star every year from 2010 to 2015.* If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense, the time to retain a criminal defense lawyer is now and the lawyer to call is Scott Gorman.
Get the Best Outcome for Your Case with a Top Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney
In New Jersey, the most serious criminal cases are heard by the Criminal Part of the Law Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey. In Bergen County, such cases are heard at the Bergen County Justice Center, which is located at 10 Main Street in Hackensack. Less serious matters such as alleged disorderly persons offenses and violations of New Jersey’s motor vehicle statutes or municipal ordinances are generally prosecuted in one of the more than seventy municipal courts located throughout the county.
To learn more about how Bergen County criminal defense attorney Scott Gorman can give you the best opportunity to obtain a favorable outcome for your case, please contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Hackensack office or call us now at (201) 489-9199.
*No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. For Rising Stars methodology, see www.superlawyers.com.