First Appearance Confusion Facing Essex County New Jersey Criminal Defendants

Whether you have been issued a traffic ticket or criminal complaint in Essex County, you should be aware that some place on the charging document will appear a First Appearance. It is easy to miss it if you don’t look carefully. But missing your first appearance can result in the issuance of a bench warrant, and that means big problems. If for some reason, you just realized you missed that First Appearance, it would be wise to contact a lawyer immediately for advise. But in the majority of court matters, the defendant will be aware of that date.

The real question is whether that is a true date, meaning do you have to be there on that date. Making matters more confusing, if you have been charged with a more serious offense (indictable charge) the location of your first appearance may be different from that listed on your complaint/warrant/summons. In some cases, you may have received traffic tickets and criminal charges. In that case, you may have two first appearances in different locations, on different days, or the same day.

If your first appearance date is only a few days after the charges were filed, it is possible that the municipal court/superior court will not have the paperwork from the police just yet. This can result in hours of waiting in court for nothing.

The best thing to do is contact an Essex County New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney who offers free consultation and who can explain the “next few weeks” to you in a very understandable way. Knowing where and when your first appearance takes place will relieve a tremendous amount of stress. Additionally, an experienced NJ criminal lawyer will take the time to explain the charges (either traffic or criminal), the possible penalties involved, and your possible defenses. Having this information provided during a free consultation will allow you to move forward and make good choices about how to proceed.


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