Criminal law can be complex and nuanced. Trying to understand the ins and outs of the criminal justice system when you are facing either misdemeanor or felony charges often adds more frustration to an already stressful situation. At Rispoli Law, PLLC, our Elizabeth, New Jersey criminal lawyers have extensive legal experience helping clients with all aspects of navigating the criminal justice system. The following are some of the most common legal terms that many clients benefit from becoming familiar with when we are assisting them with navigating accusations of criminal offenses.
Presumption of Innocence: All defendants are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty in a criminal court of law.
Search Warrant: The legal document which is issued by a judge that grants law enforcement the right to search an area specified in the warrant. In order to obtain a warrant, law enforcement must present the judge with probable cause as to why a warrant should be issued, as well as specific places that are to be searched and specific items they are searching for. There are times when warrants are not properly executed and alerting the court to this fact can help a defendant’s case. Your Elizabeth, NJ criminal lawyers may speak with you about challenging a warrant in your case.
Unreasonable (or Unlawful) Search and Seizure: The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution protects citizens from unlawful search and seizures. This means that law enforcement must have a legal warrant in order to enter an individual’s home, business, vehicle, etc. in order to conduct a search. If the officer did not have a valid warrant (and the court does not find a legal exception), then any evidence obtained in that search is generally deemed inadmissible and cannot be used against the defendant.
Miranda Rights: The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects citizens from self-incrimination. The Miranda Rule was the result of Miranda v. Arizona, a case decided by the U.S Supreme Court in which the justices ruled that police had violated the rights of the defendant, Ernesto Miranda, by not informing him he had the right to an attorney. The Miranda Rule means that if police do not inform a suspect of their right against self-incrimination and their right to an attorney before they question the individual, any subsequent statements the suspect makes may generally be deemed inadmissible in the trial. If you spoke with law enforcement before being read your rights, your Elizabeth, NJ criminal lawyers may speak with you about strategically challenging the statements that were made in violation of your Miranda rights.
Hearsay: A statement that is made out of court, not under oath, and is being used as proof against the defendant. In most cases, hearsay evidence is inadmissible in trial, however, there are exceptions that may apply. If you have questions about what kinds of statements may or may not be used against you in court, your Elizabeth, NJ criminal lawyers can help to clarify the situation.
Bond: Money or other form of collateral that a defendant will put up to ensure they will stay in the jurisdiction of the court after they have been indicted or arrested, but before they have been tried. A bond is a guarantee that the defendant will appear for trial. Should they fail to do so, they would forfeit the collateral that was put up as the guarantee. The amount of bond usually depends on the seriousness of the charges the defendant is facing, as well as their criminal record. If you have questions about bond and/or bond violations, please speak with your Elizabeth, NJ criminal lawyers instead of making potentially consequential assumptions about your situation.