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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26413
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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i was stopped, searched, arrested by the police last week.

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i was stopped, searched, arrested by the police last week. 2 complaints were issued: possession of narcotics paraphernalia to witha glass pipe commonly used to smoke dcs in violation ..." and "within the jurisdiction of this court did unlawfully and knowingly posess a controld dangerous substance to with suspected meth amphetamine"
also, a first appearance notice by the superior court of new jersey, union county"

it says i have to appear tomorrow at 9am in elizabeth nj.

also a summons that has a notation to appear tomorrow, but the box "court appearance required" is NOT checked.

i have not had an opportunity yet to get legal advise, I don't know where to turn to for help and I simply don't know what to do. I am scared.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

Just make sure and go to court. These are criminal charges and your failure to appear would subject you to a warrant for your arrest. But if this is your first real contact with the law, the odds of you having to worry about jail if you show up for your court appearances and do whatever is required of you is just about nil. The very worst you are probably looking at is probation, and if you're amenable to something treatment oriented, you could possibly even be able to resolve this without a criminal record. Or, if you don't want to consider a disposition, you could fight the charges. Either way, however, you will need a lawyer.

Your first court date should be your arraignment. The court will read the charges against you into the record and ask how you plead. You MUST plead Not Guilty, which is the only plea you can make that keeps all of your rights open, and it is what every criminal defendant is supposed to do as a matter of course at his arraignment. After you plead not guilty, you can ask the judge for a continuance so that you can come back on another date with a lawyer. Or, if you are indigent, you can ask the judge to appoint you a free lawyer. If he agrees that you are without the means to hire counsel, he'll adjourn the case and assign you a lawyer whom you'll meet on the next date.

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