What is Central Judicial Processing in New Jersey?
Central Judicial Processing, often referred to as CJP, is a criminal defendant’s first scheduled court appearance. If the Defendant is charged on what is known as a “warrant” as opposed to a “summons” in Monmouth County, New Jersey, then their CJP hearing will be conducted within 48 hours and it will take place in the Monmouth County Jail. If the Defendant is charged on a “summons” and thus not detained in the Monmouth County Jail, their CJP hearing will be conducted at the Monmouth County Superior Courthouse, which is located in Freehold, NJ. If you have been charged with an indictable offense and issued a CJP hearing date in Monmouth County, it is crucial that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.
What Happens at CJP?
Several key things occur during a Central Judicial Processing Hearing. They include the following:
- The Defendant will be called upon to enter your initial plea to the charges (i.e. Not Guilty);
- Bail, which more often than not was already set, will be reviewed at this time;
- Conditions, like no victim contact, may be eliminated and/or imposed.
- If the Defendant is detained, the Prosecution may file for a Detention Hearing, whereby they will be seeking to detain the Defendant in the County jail, without bail, pending trial;
- The Prosecution will typically provide the initial discovery (i.e. the police reports & complaints);
- The Prosecution may also make a decision on whether your case will be scheduled for a Pre-Indictment Conference, Marked for Grand Jury or Downgraded and remanded back to the local municipal court.
If the prosecution decides to downgrade and remand the charges back to the local municipal court, the charges will no longer be considered an indictable (felony) offense and will be treated as disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanors). This can be a huge advantage to some facing a serious felony offense. That is why we strongly recommend that you seek the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer prior to appearing a CJP hearing.
What types of charges have a Central Judicial Processing hearing?
Anyone charged with an indictable offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony, regardless of whether the charges are considered a first, second, third or fourth degree felony, will receive a Central Judicial Processing Hearing date in Monmouth County. This will be the case even if the majority of the charges a Defendant is facing are considered disorderly persons offenses and/or traffic offenses. For example, if a Defendant is charged to have been driving under the influence, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane and assault by auto, they will still be given a CJP date, even though four of the five charges are not considered indictable offenses but traffic offenses.
Do I Need to Appear at CJP?
In short, yes. As discussed earlier, a lot of positive things can happen during a central judicial processing hearing, like seeking a downgrade of the charges. However, that is usually only the case when a Defendant is facing a lower-level indictable offense like shoplifting, possession of heroin, theft by deception, resisting arrest or domestic violence assault. With that being said, in Monmouth County, a CJP hearing may be waived, if defense counsel so desires. Typically, if the charges are extremely serious, like aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, death by auto, endangering the welfare of a child or sexual assault, defense counsel will seek to waive the CJP hearing.
Need a Lawyer for Central Judicial Processing Hearing in Monmouth County
Keith Oliver Criminal Law is a Monmouth County based criminal defense firm that has been representing clients at Central Judicial Processing hearings for the better part of the last decade. Representation at a CJP hearing can be absolutely crucial to successfully defending the charges. If you have been charged with a criminal offense like marijuana distribution, cocaine possession, unlawful possession of a weapon, terroristic threats, burglary, sexual assault or heroin distribution and are scheduled to appear at CJP in Monmouth County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. If you would like to sit down and discuss your options with one of the Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law, then please contact our Middletown office at 732-858-6959. Our office serves all of Monmouth County, including towns like Howell, Holmdel, Freehold, Belmar, Manasquan, Tinton Falls, Asbury Park, Matawan, Wall Township, Ocean Township and Atlantic Highlands. As always, our initial consultations are free of charge, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.