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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Plea Bargaining In Criminal Cases

A plea bargain may be presented as an option to the defendant in a New Jersey criminal trial. The plea bargain negotiation can help the accused to avoid a harsher sentence. In many cases, it’s an alternative that may be preferred to the risks of going to trial. It may also be in the state’s interest to offer a plea bargain and thereby save time and money in the crowded criminal court system.

Generally speaking, unless the defendant’s attorney believes the prosecutor won’t prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, a plea bargain may be a viable option. Sometimes, the plea bargain might result in fines without jail time or require the defendant to accept another manageable type of punishment.

A plea bargain requires the defendant to admit guilt in exchange for a determined outcome. The defendant may receive a reduced charge or lesser punishments. The types of plea bargain agreements include:

  1. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a less serious offense (than his or her original charge).
  2. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a single charge (other charges against him or her are then dismissed).
  3. After the defendant agrees to plead guilty, the prosecutor recommends lighter sentencing to the judge.

Note that the judge isn’t required to accept the defendant’s plea agreement. If the judge doesn’t accept it, it’s up to the prosecutor and the defendant’s criminal defense attorney to negotiate a more acceptable plea agreement. The judge may also encourage both the prosecutor and defendant to reach an agreement to save the state’s time and money.

Of course, not all cases can result in a plea agreement. Crime severity and additional factors are considered. When a plea bargain offer is presented to the defendant, the prosecutor knows that the case will be recorded as a conviction—even if the defendant doesn’t serve jail time. The following case types may be considered for plea bargaining by the defendant and his or her criminal defense attorney:

With years of experience in criminal law and the successful negotiation of plea deals with New Jersey prosecutors over the years, know that your criminal case doesn’t automatically have to mean severe penalties or significant damage to your life and future. Contact The Law Offices of John W. Tumelty at 609-345-3300 or via our online contact form to discuss your case now.

 

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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