Have you been arrested and charged with a felony offense in Monmouth County, New Jersey? If so, you may be scheduled for what is known as Pre-Indictment Conference. A Pre-Indictment Conference, also known as PIC, could be a way to avoid trial and workout a favorable resolution very early on in the case, which may be beneficial to some. However, by doing so, you may not be able to challenge any key legal issues. If you have been summoned to appear at a Pre-Indictment Conference in Monmouth County Superior Court in Freehold, it is essential that you retain the service of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. This could be your last chance to avoid being indicted and to achieve a quick resolution to an otherwise nightmarish ordeal. To speak to one of our Monmouth County criminal defense lawyers, please contact our Middletown office at 732-858-6959. We are available immediately to provide you with a free consultation.
Who must have Pre-Indictment Conference?
First and foremost, you must be charged with an indictable offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony. However, not everyone charged with an indictable offense will receive a Pre-Indictment Conference. In Monmouth County, the Prosecutor’s Office reviews every single felony offense, on an individual basis, that arises within the County and they will make an individualized determination of whether or not that individual will receive a PIC. So, in short, the decision of whether or not an individual receives a PIC date will be up to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. With that being said, in certain circumstances, a defense attorney can contact the Monmouth Prosecutor’s Office and seek a PIC date if one is not scheduled.
What Does a Prosecutor Consider When Determining Who Gets a PIC Date?
There are countless factors that the Prosecutor’s Office will consider when determining whether or not an individual receives a Pre-Indictment Conference. They include but are not limited to the following:
- Seriousness of the Offense;
- Individual’s Past Criminal History;
- Strength of the State’s Case;
- Potential Legal Issues:
- Search Issues;
- Seizure Issues;
- Identification Issues;
- Victim’s Position
What types of Crimes Usually Get a Pre-Indictment Conference?
Pre-Indictment Conferences are generally given to lower-level felony offenses. Some of the most common crimes that receive a PIC date in Monmouth County include but are not limited to the following:
- Heroin Possession;
- Cocaine Possession;
- Marijuana Distribution;
- Aggravated Assault;
- Theft of Moveable Property;
- Resisting Arrest;
- Theft by Deception;
- Terroristic Threats;
- Assault by Auto
What Happens at a Pre-Indictment Conference?
Prior to a PIC, the prosecutors office will provide defense counsel with limited discovery so that they will be able to review it before the hearing. At the hearing, the prosecutor will tender an initial plea offer, this offer is usually considered their “best” offer. At that point in time, the individual will be called upon to make a decision of whether or not they would like to accept the State’s offer. If they decide to accept, they will enter into a plea bargain. It is important to note here that the ability to negotiate a resolution exists and a brief adjournment will generally be granted in order to try and resolve the case. A potential negotiated resolution could be to downgrade the felony offense to disorderly persons offense and remand the case back to the local municipal court.
However, if they choose to reject the State’s offer, the case will be marked for Grand Jury and the hearing will be concluded. If the case is marked for Grand Jury, the Prosecutor’s office will present the case to the Grand Jury at a later date in hopes of returning an Indictment. If that occurs, the case will proceed through the traditional course and will be litigated down the road
If a plea agreement is reached, the case will proceed under what is known as an Accusation. An accusation removes the need of the prosecutors office to present your case to a Grand Jury and seek an Indictment. In essence, you are waiving your right to have your case to be presented to a Grand Jury in order to resolve your case in quicker and usually more favorable way. It is important to note here that an Indictment / Accusation is just a formal way of bring felony offenses against an individual, it has nothing to do with being convicted.
What is the Downside of a Pre-Indictment Conference?
Everything discussed so far makes Pre-Indictment Conferences sound extremely desirable and in most cases, they are. However, it is important to discuss here that the at a PIC, motion practice is unavailable. Meaning, for example, if you have a search issue and/or Miranda issue, they can not be litigated during this type of proceeding. With that being said, the issues can used in order to try and negotiate a more desirable plea bargain, but they still cannot be litigated. This is why it is extremely important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can evaluate the case and give you the best advice on how to proceed. Remember, at individual is supposed to receive the “best” plea offer a PIC.
Pre-Indictment Conference Attorney in Monmouth County
Keith Oliver Criminal Law is a Monmouth County-based criminal defense firm, that has been appearing at Pre-Indictment Conferences in Monmouth County for the better part of the last decade. Our attorneys have been able to negotiate and resolve hundreds of cases favorable at Pre-Indictment Conference throughout their careers. If you have been arrested for burglary, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking, receiving stolen property, burglary or any other offense for that matter in Monmouth County and are schedule to appear at PIC, our attorneys can help. We serve all communities in Monmouth County, including towns like Freehold, Middletown, Howell, Belmar, Manasquan, Lake Como, Atlantic Highlands, Aberdeen, Tinton Falls, Asbury Park, Ocean Township, West Long Branch and Wall Township. If you would like to come into our Middletown office for a free initial in-depth consultation, then please contact us at 732-858-6959 or you can contact us online.