New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer
Highly-Rated Criminal Defense Lawyer Fights to Win Not Guilty Verdicts in Middlesex County, Mercer County, Union County, Ocean County, and Burlington County, NJ
Former Prosecutor Fighting For You!
As a former prosecutor, I understand both sides of litigating criminal cases. In fact, I still serve as a municipal prosecutor in several towns in addition to my private criminal defense practice. I know what prosecutors and judges are likely to do. Therefore, I always customize defense strategies to your particular case to get you the best possible outcome. If you or a loved one have been arrested or accused of a crime, reach out today to learn more about protecting your legal rights.
Being charged with a crime instantly changes your life. If you are convicted of a crime, you may be facing jail time, steep fines, a permanent criminal record and damage to your personal and professional reputation. You need a defense attorney who has both talent and experience. I am a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who has successfully prosecuted and defended thousands of cases.
Whether you have been arrested or are under investigation, I will work tirelessly to help you through this challenging time. At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, my team and I are passionate about providing high-quality criminal defense representation. Every client deserves a strong defense and our goal is to help you put this behind you without having a criminal conviction on your record. When accused of committing a crime, your lawyer is perhaps your most valuable resource. I strive to offer the highest quality defense possible. I handle your case personally and make sure you are informed every step of the way. We offer flat, reasonable fees and are always accessible through phone, email, and text message.
Why Hire Us?
At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I provide criminal defense for those who have been charged with various crimes in New Jersey.
- Training. Early on in my career, I did everything possible to lay the foundation for a successful criminal defense practice. During law school, I interned at the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and the NJ Office of the Public Defender. I learned early on how both sides approached and litigated criminal cases. After graduating from Rutgers Law School, I chose not to go and work for a big law firm. Instead, I accepted a clerkship with a Judge in the Superior Court of New Jersey – Appellate Division. There we reviewed the decisions of trial judges and the actions of attorneys. I saw what worked, what didn’t work, and how the best attorneys handled their cases.
- Experience. I have served as a Municipal Court prosecutor for over six years in five different municipalities. I have also been in private defense practice for over ten years. I have defended thousands of clients against virtually every kind of criminal offense. Many of these clients faced charges that could have resulted in criminal records, driver’s license suspensions, and years of imprisonment. As a prosecutor I have also prosecuted thousands of cases including DUI, theft, and domestic violence.
- Record of Success. I am just as proud of my successes as a defense attorney as I am from my prosecuting experience. We have succeeded in getting charges dismissed through motions and other tactical actions. I have also won countless trials in both the motor vehicle and criminal contexts.
- Hundreds of 5 – Star reviews. My firm enjoys a great continued relationship with former satisfied clients. Many have expressed their appreciation through positive google and Avvo reviews detailing how effectively we resolved the cases they trusted us to handle.
- Accessibility. I make myself available on a regular basis to all clients, both potential and existing. We utilize 24-7 live phone answering and online chat. All calls and emails are returned promptly. I also accept text messages for urgent issues.
- Reasonable & flat fees. There are never any disagreements or surprises over fees with my office. All charges are explained clearly at the outset. All fees for criminal cases are flat, meaning one-time only. You won’t receive any surprise bills months later or have to pay anything more than what was initially agreed upon.
My Approach to Defending Criminal Cases
Every criminal case is different and requires a different approach. A few things remain constant however in the way I defend cases. The first is proactivity. I believe in working hard at the outset of a case to lay the groundwork for a solid defense. This can include investigation, treatment, and communication with the law enforcement officers and prosecutors involved in your case.
The second key theme is diligence. You can’t simply put a client’s file in your cabinet and hope for the best. An attorney must be diligent in ferreting out every relevant piece of evidence and analyzing the case from every angle. There is no substitute for hard work.
The third is creativity. The nature of motion practice allows a skilled attorney to attack virtually every part of a criminal case. From the circumstances surrounding the police investigation to the manner in which they may have searched you, myriad constitutional challenges can be raised depending on the facts of your case. Aside from motion practice, there are many steps you can take outside of the courtroom to help your case. This includes gathering mitigating evidence and addressing underlying issues that may have contributed to the alleged offense.
Next is tradecraft. There has to be a good reason for every move you make in defending a criminal case. You need to be careful in deciding what defenses you pursue and how you do so. A scattershot approach is rarely effective in any legal fight. Instead, I believe in zeroing in on the best arguments and defenses. The written and oral advocacy that supports these arguments needs to be presented in a polished and professional manner in order to deliver maximum benefit to your case.
Finally, I believe in transparency and responsiveness. Clients need to understand all the issues in their cases. This includes the relevant statutory and case law. This also includes a detailed analysis of the facts of your case and how those facts implicate the relevant law. All options need to be presented to the client. It is the client who decides what course of action to take after those options are laid out. I stay in constant communication with my clients and keep them informed during every step of the process.
How Can New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Anthony J. Vecchio, Esq. Help?
At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, you can expect an experienced and compassionate lawyer who:
- Knows the law and the system
- Has a relationship with prosecutors and judges
- Knows how to locate and evaluate evidence—including by challenging the prosecution’s evidence
- Will negotiate behind the scenes to get your charges dropped or reduced where possible
- Is committed to putting in the hard work to conduct the detailed research and investigation needed to get results for you
- Has had success getting cases dismissed through motions and pre-trial challenges
- Routinely wins cases at trial.
- Has specialized experience in appeals, post-conviction relief applications, and expungements
When you choose our legal team, we promise to protect your best interests and Constitutional rights.
Criminal Defense Case I Handle
Driving While Intoxicated
- DUI based on alcohol
- DWI from drug intoxication
- Underage DUI
- Allowing another to operate while intoxicated
- Interlock Violations
- Driving while suspended for DUI
- Drug Possession
- Heroin Defense
- Marijuana Charges
- Prescription Drug Charges
- Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances (“CDS”)
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Operation of a Motor Vehicle while in Possession of CDS
- Distribution of CDS
- Selling Drugs in a school zone or near a housing complex or public park
- Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death
Disorderly Persons Offenses
Charges Against Professionals
- Law Enforcement Officers
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Contact
- Megan’s Law Violations
- Failure to Register as a Sex offender
- Gun crimes
- Unlawful possession of a weapon
- Possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose
- Graves Act violations
- Possession of hollow point bullets
- Certain persons not to have firearms charges
- Red flag law
- Financial Facilitation
- Computer Criminal Activity
- Credit Card Fraud
If you have been charged with a crime that you do not see listed above, please feel free to call our team. We can also use our extensive contacts throughout the criminal justice system to refer you to a lawyer who specializes in the relevant field.
The NJ Criminal Process
- Investigation. In some cases, the client never knows they are under investigation. In others, they are contacted by the police and asked to give statements. Prosecutor’s offices may also send the defendant a target letter or grand jury subpoena. We can address all these issues in order to best protect your rights.
- Charge. If an offense occurs in the presence of an officer, they can arrest you on the spot. In other cases, police may initiate the charge following an investigation. There are two ways to be charged by the police. They are: 1) on a summons, and 2) on a warrant. A summons simply informs you of the charges and gives you a date to appear in court. A warrant also details the charges but also commands a law enforcement officer to place you under arrest. In some cases, prosecutor’s offices can directly indict you or charge you on an “accusation.”
- Processing. The type of an offense you face determines how you are processed after being charged. For minor offenses, you may simply be released with a court date. More serious offenses require mandatory fingerprinting however. These also include all drug and domestic violence offenses. If you are charged on a warrant, you will be taken from the police station directly to the county jail. This is required now even for first-time offenders.
- Detention. After being transported to the jail. The court and pretrial services units will conduct a risk assessment. This evaluates you based on two general criteria: 1) the risk of danger you pose to the community, and 2) your history of appearing or failing to appear in court. You are graded on each of these points on a scale of 1-6, with six being the worst. Where you fall on this scale determines whether you should be released from jail or detained pending trial. You will be seen by a judge no later than 48 hours after being detained for this determination to be made. A judge can also release you subject to certain conditions including home arrest, ankle bracelet monitoring, and other restrictions.
- Pre-Indictment Conference. This is sometimes also known as an Early Disposition Conference in some counties. This is an opportunity to get into court and try to resolve your case before you are indicted. Only limited discovery is usually provided at this time. It takes an experienced attorney to analyze a case at this point to determine whether pre-indictment resolution is in your best interests. These hearings can be good opportunities in your case as prosecutor’s usually make their best plea offers at this point. However, you waive important rights by doing so. This includes the right to have your case presented to the grand jury.
- Indictment. This only applies to felony or indictable level offenses. In those cases, you have the right to have your case presented to the grand jury. A grand jury is a group of 24 people selected for long term jury duty. The grand jury sits and hears evidence presented to them by the prosecutor’s office. This evidence targets specific individuals (the defendant) for specific offenses. If more than half of the grand jury agrees that there exists probable cause for the charges against you, they return what is known as a “true bill.” You are then “indicted.” This process exists for your protection. This is so you can’t be brought to trial before a group of your peers agrees that there is a sufficient basis for the charges. In practice however, probably over 90% of the individuals targeted are indicted. In many cases, the grand jury (at the prosecutor’s direction) returns even more counts to the indictment than were initially even charged.
- Arraignment. The arraignment is a formal procedural hearing that occurs in court before a judge. The purpose is to advise you of the charges against you and ensure that you understand them. It is critical to retain an attorney before the arraignment if you have not already done so. The discovery in your case (the evidence against you) is usually provided to your attorney before this hearing. At the arraignment, you must enter a plea of either “guilty” or “not-guilty.” New Jersey does not allow for other pleas such as “no-contest.” The arraignment also triggers certain other procedural requirements, such as discovery, notice, and motion deadlines.
- Status Conferences. Your case may include a series of status conferences. These are procedural hearings where you will appear in court with your attorney. The state will be represented by a prosecutor at this hearing and throughout the case. The purpose of the status conference is to keep the case moving forward and the judge apprised of where the case is at.
- Motion Hearings. Depending on your case, certain motions may be filed by your attorney on your behalf. A “motion” is when you formally ask the court to do something. This can be to order the state to produce certain discovery. This also commonly includes asking the court to suppress or throw out certain evidence. Motions can also be filed for dismissal of the charges in some circumstances.
- Pre-trial conference. The pre-trial conference is usually the last opportunity to resolve a case via plea agreement. If the case cannot be resolved, a pre-trial memorandum is completed and the case is placed on the trial list. Detained defendant’s cases get priority on the trial list. This is also sometimes known as a “plea cut-off” date. In order to resolve the case with a plea agreement after this, you need the permission of the presiding criminal judge. This will only be granted under compelling circumstances.
- Trial. There is no right to trial in New Jersey for disorderly persons or motor vehicle offenses. This includes DUI charges. For indictable offenses, you do have the right to a jury trial. Only a very experienced defense attorney should be entrusted to represent you at trial. Being successful at trial requires talent and experience.
- Appeal. If you are convicted you have a very limited amount of time to file a notice of appeal. A Municipal Court conviction requires a notice of appeal to be filed within 20 days. A judgment of the Superior Court must be filed within 45 days. While extensions may be granted for good cause, you should not rely on this being granted. Appeals are highly technical and should be handled only by attorneys with adequate appellate experience.
- Post-Conviction Relief. You also have 5 years from your conviction date to file a petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). This is an attack on your conviction based on evidence outside the trial record. Typical arguments on PCR include ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct.
- Expungement. Depending on the outcome of your case, you may be eligible to have your record expunged. This means that your case will be in essence erased from your record and not able to be discovered on a background check. Expungement eligibility is determined by the nature of the offense you are convicted of and the time that has elapsed since your dismissal or conviction.
Understanding the Consequences of Criminal Conviction
It’s important to remember that being charged with a crime is not the same as a criminal conviction. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you avoid the worst-case scenario. If you are convicted of a crime, you may face:
- Probation. Being placed on probation imposes significant restrictions on your life. You will have to report and answer to an assigned probation officer. Your probation officer can direct you to undergo evaluations and obtain substance abuse and mental health treatment. You will not be able to move out of the state without their permission. You must also remain employed and can be subjected to random drug testing. If you violate your probation, you must be resentenced on the original charge you were convicted of. Since you already failed at probation, a judge will usually send you to jail or prison at this point. Violations of probation can be challenged however. It may be possible to prove that you in fact did not violate your probation or that your probably should simply be continued rather than terminated as unsuccessful.
- Driver’s License Suspension. Certain criminal convictions also carry mandatory driver’s license suspensions. These include all drug offenses, even where a motor vehicle was not involved at all. Eluding law enforcement officers and underage possession or consumption of alcohol can also cause a driver’s license suspension.
- Jail or prison time. Depending upon the charge, you might face days or months in county jail. For more serious offenses, you may be sentenced to a term of years in New Jersey state prison.
- Monetary fines. In addition to jail, if you are convicted, you will likely be required to pay a large fine—some of which soar into the tens of thousands of dollar range.
- Court-Mandated Community Service, Education, Rehab. In certain cases, the judge has the discretion to order alcohol or drug rehabilitation, anger management course, participation in an alcohol education court, community service, and more.
- Limited future opportunities. Criminal convictions carry consequences that last long after you have completed court-mandated punishment. Even after you have served your time, you will have a criminal record. You could be denied housing, have trouble finding work, face rejection from education or volunteer programs, be denied time with your child, and more.
- Immigration Consequences. I have a lot of experience representing non-citizens in criminal matters. These cases must be handled with great care. A criminal conviction can cause a permanent resident to lose their green card. It can also impair your ability to naturalize and become a U.S. citizen. You could also be deported for certain offenses or refused re-entry into the United States if you leave voluntarily and then try to return.
- Loss of Rights. Criminal convictions can also trigger other negative collateral consequences. These can include the loss of your right to obtain or keep a firearm and your ability to vote.
Contact New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Anthony J. Vecchio, Esq. for a Free and Confidential Consultation
I founded the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC with the goal of giving everyone access to the fair, unbiased trial and competent legal representation they deserve.
When you hire my law firm to represent you, I promise that my team and I explore every option to get the best outcome possible. Every person has legal rights and I’m passionate about upholding those rights throughout the New Jersey criminal system.
To learn more about how I can help you, call today or contact my team online to talk about options. I remain available and accessible throughout the legal process, and I am always available to answer any questions you have.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Criminal Defense
Yes. If you are convicted of certain types of crimes—primarily felony indictable offenses in New Jersey—you can lose some rights after you have completed your punishment. You may lose:
– Your second amendment right to own or carry a gun
– Your right to vote
– Your right to work in certain fields
– Child custody and visitation rights
– Your immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen
New Jersey has the same levels of criminal offenses as other states. A disorderly persons offense under New Jersey law is essentially a misdemeanor. An indictable crime is a felony. The key difference is the severity of the penalty that the charge carries. Under NJSA 2C:1-4, a disorderly persons offense is punishable by less than one year in jail. The most serious of indictable offenses are punished as first-degree crimes under NJSA 2C:43-1—at minimum, conviction carries between 10-20 years in prison.