What is Central Judicial Processing Hearing?

Need a Lawyer for Central Judicial Processing Hearing in Somerset County?

Anyone arrested and charged with an indictable offense (felony) in Somerset or Hunterdon County will receive a Central Judicial Processing date. This is considered the Defendant’s first initial appearance, where by they will be informed of certain pertinent information about their case. If the Defendant has been issued their charges on what is known as a “warrant” and they have been logged in the Somerset County Jail, their Central Judicial Processing hearing is where they will be informed about whether or not the prosecution has filed for what is known as a Detention Hearing. If that is to occur, that advises the Defendant that the prosecution is seeking to convince the Judge that the Defendant must be detained in the County Jail, without bail, pending trial. So, as you can see, a lot of important things take place during a Defendant’s central judicial processing hearing (CJP) and that is why we urge anyone facing such a hearing, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your options. Understanding your options is absolutely crucial, your liberty is on the line.

What Happens During a Central Judicial Processing Hearing?

As stated earlier, central judicial processing, also known as “CJP” is the Defendant’s first appearance. During this hearing, the Defendant will be advised of the following information:

  • The specific charges that have been filed;
  • The applicable penalties for those charges;
  • Whether or not the prosecution as filed for a Detention Hearing;
  • If they are going to be released on bail and if so, what the conditions will be;
  • What and where their next scheduled court proceeding will be, which can included one of the following:
    • The charges being downgraded and remanded back to the local municipal court.
    • The case will be scheduled for Pre-Indictment Conference;
    • The case will be marked fro the Grand Jury

Also, during this hearing the Defendant will be called upon to enter an initial plea to the charges (i.e. Guilty or Not Guilty).

What types of Charges Get Scheduled for CJP?

Most of the Defendant’s who receive a central judicial processing hearing date have been charged with either a indictable offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony or charged with a domestic violence disorderly persons offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor. Some examples of potential indictable and domestic violence disorderly persons offenses include but are not limited to:

How to Dismiss Charges at CJP?

It is highly unlikely that the prosecution will be in a position to agree to dismiss anyone’s charges during their CJP hearing. These hearing typically take place within 48 hours of a Defendant’s arrest and as such, the prosecution is typically working on very limited information. However, defense counsel could seek to convince the prosecution that the charges are better warranted being downgraded and remanded back to the local municipal court. This could turn out to be a tremendous advantage for a client, as if this is to occur, the indictable (felony) charges would need to be downgraded to disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanor). When discussing the potential for a downgrade, some important factors can include the following:

  • Defendant’s Criminal Record;
  • Strength of their case;
  • Whether or not violence was used;
  • Victim’s Position;
  • Miranda Violations? Search Issues? Probable Cause?

Should I Retain a Lawyer for Central Judicial Processing Hearing in Somerville?

If you have charged with an indictable offense like possession of cocaine, assault by auto, theft by deception, distribution of marijuana or terroristic threats and are scheduled to appear in the Somerset or Hunterdon County Superior Court for a CJP hearing, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. As you can see from above, this is a very important hearing and having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side can make a tremendous difference.  Our office serves both counties, which includes towns like Clinton, Union Township, Hillsborough, RaritanReadington, Bridgewater, Watchung and Bound Brook. To schedule a free initial consultation today, please contact our office at 908.533.1064 or you cant try contacting us online.

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.