But there are two big reasons you shouldn't walk into a New Jersey municipal court without an attorney:
1. Your attorney will deal with the prosector as an equal.
Most New Jersey municipal court matters are plea-bargained; there will never be an actual trial to determine guilt or the lack of it. That matter will be decided beforehand with the prosecutor, usually in a room down the hall from where the judge sits. And, generally speaking, an attorney is in a much better position to reach a plea bargain agreement with a prosecutor than is an unrepresented defendant. The attorney has done the research before shaking the prosecutor's hand; the attorney knows what the likely outcome will be and what constitutes the best possible deal to be made for the defendant. The attorney knows exactly how to manage the client's defense if a deal cannot be made and there must be a trial.
2. You save time.
Defendants represented by an attorney in most New Jersey municipal courts enjoy the luxury of having their matters heard first by the judge. This is for a very good reason; many attorneys are rushing from court to court in the same night and judges want to make sure the clients of those attorneys all get the benefit of their attorneys' attention. So prosecutors meet with attorneys before they welcome the great mass of unrepresented defendants. To be blunt, you don't want to be sitting around in the latter group. After all, not only will you likely be waiting for hours to speak with the prosecuor and have your case heard by the judge, you'll be doing all that without the legal advice provided by a licensed attorney.
If this blog strikes you as good advice and you are facing charges in a New Jersey Municipal court, call (973) 376-8585 and schedule a free consultation wth Springfield attorney Greg DePaul. You'll be glad you did.