Civil Discovery Use in a Criminal Case

Civil Discovery Use in a Criminal Case

As you and your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer discuss your case, your lawyer may recommend creative approaches to your legal defense. One such approach may be to utilize civil discovery to aid you in your criminal defense, especially if there is an active civil case in a related matter.

Civil Discovery

Civil discovery is much more generous than criminal discovery. If a criminal charge has not yet been filed, you and your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer are not automatically entitled to any criminal discovery of a pending investigation. However, if you use civil discovery in a related civil case, you may be able to gain important insights regarding the evidence that the prosecution may be planning to use against you.

Stays

However, sometimes a prosecutor can seek a stay of the civil case. This situation may apply when the prosecution believes that civil discovery may result in the prosecution disclosing too much important information related to their investigation. However, courts often do not grant such orders.

Civil Settlement

Another approach that your New Jersey criminal defense attorney may recommend is using a civil settlement in a case to justify dismissal of a criminal charge. If a civil action has been filed against you, your attorney will be motivated to prevent that case from jeopardizing your position in the criminal case. In some instances, a prosecutor may be persuaded not to pursue a criminal charge, for instance if the victim is returned to the position that he or she was in before the incident.  In such an instance, the prosecutor may not see much incentive to pursue a criminal case. However, the prosecution may still choose to take a hard line by determining that the criminal and civil cases are treated completely separately and will not allow the criminal defendant to in a sense “buy” his or her way out of the prosecution.

Legal Assistance

If you would like more information about how an active civil case may affect the outcome of your criminal case or you would like to discuss potential options in your particular case, contact Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812.

What Will Happen if I’m Arrested?

What Will Happen if I’m Arrested?

As hard as it may sound, try not to get too panicked or afraid if you get arrested. The road from your initial arrest to your first appearance in court will seem agonizing and frightening, but your lawyer will do what he can to allay your fears and let you know what your best options are. You should speak to a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer immediately after being arrested. Call 732-212-2812 for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

Civil Discovery Use in a Criminal Case

Accepting a Plea Deal

Some criminal cases go all the way to trial, but most instead end with a guilty plea and a sentence from a judge. If you decide to plea bargain and then enter of plea of guilty, there will be a “change-of-plea” hearing.  Remember to be respectful and precise at your hearing so the judge is inclined to grant you a favorable sentence at the later sentencing hearing. 

Criminal Discovery

Criminal Discovery

As you progress with your case, your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer will let you know about certain obligations that you have. Many of these obligations arise during the course of the discovery process. Discovery occurs when each side of the case asks for information that is helpful to aid the other side in working on its case.

Reciprocal Discovery

Once the prosecutor requests discovery from you through your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, reciprocal discovery is triggered. Additionally, your New Jersey criminal defense attorney might have to provide notice of certain defenses that you may raise, such as an alibi. This mandate for reciprocal discovery is often executed through a pretrial order. The prosecution might have to provide more information from the case, including witness lists, statements and trial exhibits.

Determining Information to Request

One of the responsibilities of your criminal defense attorney is to determine how helpful certain information may be to your case. He or she must assess whether asking for this information exceeds the cost of disclosing information about your defense. He or she may ask some of the following questions:

• Are you aware of the prosecution’s strategies and case in general, or do you have a good idea about the likely evidence that they will produce?
• Will your witnesses be intimidated if disclosure allows the prosecution to start asking them questions now? Do your witnesses have damaging information in their past that can affect their credibility?
• Does your defense depend on the other side being surprised, or is it the only feasible defense that the case warrants or that the prosecutor would likely anticipate?

Limitations of Discovery

The prosecution can’t compel a defendant to testify, and his or her attorney can’t be forced to provide pretrial information about what the testimony might be. Additionally, you are not required to disclose potentially damaging information to the prosecution. However, by being aware of the prosecution’s evidence, your attorney may be able to anticipate  the intended prosecution strategy to better prepare his or her own strategy to combat this evidence.

If you would like more information regarding the obligation of providing certain discovery to the prosecution, contact Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812 to set up a confidential meeting.

 

Speak Up To Invoke Your Right To Remain Silent

Speak Up To Invoke Your Right To Remain Silent

The Miranda Warnings were established to protect the rights of suspects taken into custody–this includes the right to remain silent. No matter the questions posed, or general chit chat officers try to engage a suspect with, any statements said can be used to incriminate the suspect. A suspect should tell the officer that they invoke their right to stay silent and their right to an attorney, and then only converse with their attorney. 

Civil Discovery Use in a Criminal Case

Is Marijuana Legal In the United States?

For the most part, federal law has outlawed possession and distribution of marijuana in the United States. However, some states feel like it should be up to the individual states and are pushing back. Seventeen states have taken steps to decriminalize marijuana possession.