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I was received a summons today to appear in court in court…

Hello! I was received a summons...
Hello!
I was received a summons today to appear in court in court for harrassment. My landlord was supposed to give me back my security deposit , and kept giving me the run around. On the last of many days of him telling me to come back and he still didn’t give me the check I lost my temper and pushed him.
He called the cops. I gave a statement, thought that was it (never got that deposit by the way) but just got this summons. Never been to court for anything other than a parking ticket and jury duty , so have no idea what comes next!
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Answered in 1 minute by:
10/21/2017
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,913
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post. In what US state were you charged with harassment?

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
NJ

Thank you.

In New Jersey, this sort of charge is generally a petty disorderly persons offense. That means it's something less than a crime. It's the equivalent of what other states would call an infraction. It has a maximum penalty possibility of 30 days of incarceration and a fine of $500, but it's almost always possible to avoid jail on a first offense of this sort.

Your first court date is your arraignment, where the charges against you will be read into the record and you'll be asked how you plead. It is both customary and expected for all criminal defendants to plead not guilty at their arraignment. That keeps all of your rights open so that you can retain a lawyer and get advised, negotiate a deal, or fight the case. Your landlord will get a protective order against you as part of the case and you'll be required to keep away from him.

From there, even if you eventually took a plea on this case, since it is not a crime, you could have the conviction expunged from your record after 5 years. But there may be a way to get out of this without a conviction, and for that it would be wise for you to retain a criminal lawyer and have him with you at your court date.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Is it advisable to have a lawyer for the arraignment?

If you can afford counsel, it's advisable to get him involved as soon after the summons as possible. He can contact the prosecutor before your court date and potentially have something favorable worked out for you by the first court date.

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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Do you have any idea how much something like this costs please? Please forgive the ignorance- I truly have no clue

It depends on what you and the lawyer decide you want to do with the case. If you're looking for a quick favorable deal, I'd estimate about $1,500 or less. If you're going to go all the way to trial and fight the case, that involves much more time for the lawyer and paperwork. It could be twice that even for a minor charge like this one.

Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,913
Experience: Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Zoey_ JD and 87 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 10 months ago
Thank you so much!!!
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