What is Pre-Indictment Conference in NJ?

Need a Lawyer for Pre-Indictment Conference in Somerset County

The first court appearance after an individual is arrested, charged and processed for an indictable offense (felony) is their Central Judicial Processing Hearing, also known as “CJP”. During this hearing the individual will be advised of their rights, the charges levied against them, the potential ramifications of those charges and whether or not the prosecution will be filing for what is known as a Detention Hearing. Once CJP takes place the individual will then be scheduled for a Pre-Indictment Conference, also known as “PIC”. At PIC the prosecution will try and streamline the case and typically will offer what they feel is a favorable plea resolution in order to avoid presenting the case to a Grand Jury and litigating the case. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the charges, this may be a very advantageous opportunity for an individual.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Pre-Indictment Court in Somerset County?

We strongly recommend that anyone scheduled for a Pre-Indictment Conference in Somerset or Hunterdon County speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to appearing. As touched upon above, during this hearing, the prosecution could be offering a favorable plea resolution, one that more likely than not, will not be available after the case has been sent to the Grand Jury. It is important to note here that prior to this hearing, defense counsel will be provided with the pertinent discovery and will be able to negotiate a plea offer, this is not a situation where it is a “take it or leave it” situation.

With that being said, if there are any significant issues in the case like a unlawful search or seizure or a Miranda Violation, they cannot be litigated during this type of proceeding but they can be used in negotiating a plea. If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with an indictable offense in Somerset or Hunterdon County and are scheduled for PIC, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our office is comprised of attorneys who have dedicated their entire careers to defending those accused of crimes. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation, then please contact our office at 908-533-1064. We serve all of Somerset and Hunterdon County, including towns like Clinton, Readington, Hillsborough, Raritan, Bridgewater, Flemington, Franklin, Bound Brook and Watchung.

What type of Charges Get Scheduled for PIC?

Typically only second, third and fourth degree indictable offenses (felony) get scheduled for Pre-Indictment Conferences in Somerset and Hunterdon County. However, not every second, third or fourth degree indictable offense will be sent to PIC. The prosecutor’s office will examine each file and make an independent determination on whether or not the case is appropriate for this type of proceeding. That being said, defense counsel can always reach out to the prosecutor and see if they would be willing to give the case a PIC date if one is not given. Some of the most common indictable offenses scheduled for PIC include:

Most first degree indictable offenses like armed robbery, homicide, aggravated sexual assault, leader of a drug trafficking network will be marked for the Grand Jury right away.

What Can Be Accomplished at Pre-Indictment Conferences

As mentioned several times above, a plea resolution could be worked out at a Pre-Indictment Conference. If that is the case, the individual will enter a guilty plea to the charge and the case will be re-listed for sentencing in approximately 60 days.

If the individual rejects the plea, the case will be marked for the Grand Jury. Once the case is marked, the prosecution will present their case to the Grand Jury in an effort to obtain an Indictment. If an indictment is obtained, the case will be scheduled for arraignment and will proceed through the traditional court proceedings (status conferences, motion practice and trial). This will traditionally occur several months after the PIC.

Another option is that defense counsel could convince the prosecution to downgrade the indictable offense(s) (felony) to disorderly persons offense(s) (misdemeanor) and seek to have them remanded the charges back to the local municipal court for disposition. This could obviously turn out to be a tremendous benefit for the individual. In order to accomplish this, defense counsel can look to exploit the weakness in the case, the lack of prior record of their client and the non-seriousness of the offense.

Need Local Lawyer for Pre-Indictment Conference in Hunterdon County

As you can see from above, it is imperative that anyone scheduled for a Pre-Indictment Conference seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. This could be a great opportunity to workout a favorable plea deal or convince the prosecution to downgrade and remand the charges. If you have been charged with resisting arrest, shoplifting, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking, terroristic threat or any other offense and are scheduled to appear for a pre-indictment conference, we can help. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Somerset and Hunterdon County criminal defense attorneys, then please contact us at 908.533.1064. We frequently serve towns like Manville, Green Brook, Clinton, Watchung, Bernards, Bedminster, Warren, North Plainfield and Union Township, so if you have any questions at all, just let us know.

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.