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FAQs About Criminal Defense


Attorney James Abate prepares you for what comes next in the legal arena

It is natural to have many questions when facing criminal charges. Attorney James Abate, of The Law Offices of James A. Abate, LLC, skillfully guides clients through the judicial system and is readily accessible to answer any questions they may have.


A: The necessity of a criminal defense lawyer when you’ve been charged with a serious crime cannot be understated. The attorney can assist you in reducing your bail, evaluate the charges and assist you in getting into diversionary programs. The attorney will also know the experts and rules of law which are necessary to defend your case. Knowing that you got the right attorney is basically determined by looking for someone who has the experience and qualifications, such as being a member of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey.

A: The most effective of way of getting yourself out of trouble is hiring private counsel. Private counsel is going to have the resources and ability to defend your case throughout the process.

Defending yourself when you’re facing serious criminal charges is essentially suicide. They are not going to know what’s going on, you wouldn’t even know where the standard is set, no less making motions and you will have no experience speaking with the prosecutor.

The courts are very unreceptive to defendants representing themselves. The public defender does what they can but they don’t have the resources or the time to explore each and every possible avenue and take your case to trial.


A: It really depends on what he said. State v. Miranda or Miranda v. Arizona, as it were, is a case about police having to advise you that you have a right to remain silent. If they fail to advise you of that right and you then go and make statements, they can’t use those statements against you. Most of the time, the most damaging evidence is the evidence any defender gives to the police.

A: Absolutely not! Miranda rights are as important now as ever. In fact, most of the evidence that will be used against you will be evidence that the police ask you for and you willingly give to them. The one thing that hurts most defendants is they think they can talk their way out of it and they usually can’t.

A: Retaining an experienced criminal defense lawyer, that is the best way to get your case dismissed, that is the best way to hear “not guilty” at trial.

A: Hire an attorney to investigate whether the proper procedures were affected in obtaining a warrant and if a warrant was not obtained, to prevent the police from using evidence that they have no right to use.

A: Don’t ever talk to the police when you are the subject of a criminal investigation. Immediately contact a lawyer.

A: There are normally a manner of options depending on your prior criminal history. If you have a clean record, it is possible that you can be admitted into a pretrial intervention or diversionary program or even a drug court which would prevent you from having to be incarcerated. The best way to get these results is to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

A: You have a constitutional right to have the charges against you proved, to have the evidence displayed to you and for the state to meet its burden of proof. You don’t have to do anything. However, the most beneficial pleas come when you have weakened the state’s case enough that they are concerned about obtaining any conviction.

Our system today is based on the plea bargain. If you are one of the defendants that is prepared to take your case to trial that is very dangerous for the state. Police is no longer experienced at testifying a trial and an experienced trial lawyer can rip them to shreds and damage their credibility at trial.


A: Your attorney needs to be in contact with you from the moment of the case through the end of the case. They need to have your objectives in mind so that they can fulfill those objectives. They need to know the full facts of what happened and that is why there is the attorney-client privilege so that you can say everything to your attorney and they can, as a result, not be compelled to reveal that information to anyone.

A: The first mistake is talking to the police. Most cases that I handle would be much weaker for the police if the defendant had not given them additional evidence or consented to a search. Always take the position that you do not consent to searches and don’t speak to the police if you are under investigation.

A: Private attorneys simply have the time and the resources to uncover every possible defense. They have the ability and the knowledge of what expert can make your case better and they have the incentives to obtain a dismissal.

A: There is an attorney for everyone. I can’t say that I am the right attorney for everybody who comes into my office but when there is a connection, then we are willing to fight to the end for that client. The most important part of that is you need to know why does your attorney do what he does. It’s not that they are looking to make money or they are looking to get cases dismissed, it’s got to be that they believe that the government of the country is best served by vigorous defense and zealous advocacy on behalf of a client.

A: It depends. Police officers are allowed to search you and your property with your permission should you choose to grant it. They are also allowed to search your person and your property if they have a signed search warrant, if you have been arrested, if they believe your car has illegal or stolen goods or evidence in it, or if they believe that waiting for a search warrant may give you time to destroy valuable evidence.

A: Yes, if they believe they have grounds to do so or if they think you may tamper with evidence left in your custody. If evidence used against you was taken without a search warrant, Mr. Abate will attempt to have that evidence excluded from your trial.

A: Not really. You are expected to know state and federal laws, so ignorance is no excuse. That said, if you feel you made a genuine mistake and truly did not mean to commit a crime, you should explain this to Mr. Abate. Mr. Abate may be able to convey this to the court and have the charges you face reduced.

A: Absolutely. Criminal law attorneys know much more about the law than laymen do and they constantly deal with the workings of the justice system. Retaining a lawyer makes it more likely that the charges against you will be reduced or dismissed.

A: Costs range widely depending on the type of charge you are facing and numerous other factors. Mr. Abate can discuss legal fees in greater detail with you during your free consultation.

A: Yes, if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is over the legal limit or you are under the legal drinking age and have alcohol in your system.

A: Yes. You may not be able to have your record expunged if:

  • You have been convicted of more than one crime
  • You were convicted of committing a sexual offense
  • You are a registered sex offender
  • You have already had your record expunged once

Contact The Law Offices of James A. Abate, LLC for a no-obligation consultation
Call on The Law Offices of James A. Abate, LLC for assistance if you need an attorney who takes prompt action when the circumstances are dire. Mr. Abate is available 24 hours a day should an emergency arise and you need a defense lawyer by your side. With offices in Westfield and Bridgewater, Mr. Abate serves clients throughout Somerset, Union, Middlesex, Morris and Essex counties as well as other areas of New Jersey. Reach out to his office online or at (908) 210-9755 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Get your questions answered – call me for your free, 20 min phone consultation (908) 210-9755