A district attorney (D.A.) is the prosecuting officer of a criminal case. They represent the government in prosecuting criminal offenses. The prosecutor's office works closely with police and other law enforcement agencies. They work with law enforcement to obtain evidence that can be admitted at trial.
So, while police may conduct arrests and collect evidence at a crime scene, the prosecutor actually makes use of the evidence at trial. Of course, the evidence must have been collected lawfully. The prosecutor must present the evidence to the court. Prosecutors have a very high burden of proof in criminal cases. They must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. Whether they're successful comes down to the evidence, the jury, and the D.A.'s skills as an attorney.
If you're facing criminal charges, understanding which New Jersey prosecuting attorney represents your district and how to deal with them may be pivotal to your case.
New Jersey Attorney General
While county prosecutors represent the residents of their respective counties in litigation, New Jersey's Attorney General represents the entire state. They often enforce laws protecting consumers.
Attorneys general handle the administration of criminal law throughout their respective states. They do the same with consumer protection law matters. Attorneys general also sometimes handle the prosecution of high-profile criminal offenses.
New Jersey District Attorneys
District attorneys handle all types of criminal offenses, from misdemeanors to felonies, including:
- Domestic violence, including instances that lead to restraining orders
- Drug crimes
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI)
- Disorderly conduct
- Sex crimes, including sexual assault
- Shoplifting offenses
- White-collar crimes, including bank and credit card fraud
District attorneys also handle expungement. Expungement is the removal of offenses from criminal records. To learn more about expungement, visit FindLaw's page on the subject. It provides answers to many frequently asked questions (FAQ) about expungement.
Working With a Defense Attorney
Experienced criminal defense attorneys can affect the outcome of a case. They can do so by challenging the government's evidence and creating reasonable doubt in the minds of jurors. Experienced attorneys are in a good position to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a case. They are able to do so before trial to see whether a plea bargain would be in the defendant's best interest.
With a plea bargain, a defendant enters into negotiations with the prosecution. The negotiation can center around dismissing certain charges.
The negotiations can also center around reducing the charges or reducing sentencing penalties. These communications are sensitive and should only be done with a defense attorney's assistance. Doing so ensures that your rights are protected. Remember, it's the prosecution's job to put you in jail. So, it's critical to make sure that communications are carefully crafted. This is the case because such communications could inadvertently include damaging admissions.
If you can't afford an attorney, it's important to know that you still have options. You can contact the Office of the Public Defender. Attorneys with the Office of the Public Defender can provide free legal services to qualifying people.
Directory of New Jersey District Attorneys
Below are links to New Jersey prosecuting attorneys by county, city, and township.
For county prosecuting attorneys not listed above, you can easily find them online.
Note: We strive to provide the most current contact and website information available for the D.A. offices in this state. But this information is subject to change. If you have found contact or website information that is not current, please contact us.
Get Professional Help With Your New Jersey Criminal Case
No one wants to be the subject of a criminal case. Sometimes, law enforcement simply makes mistakes or has an incomplete picture of an incident. But you shouldn't rely on law enforcement to get it right on their own—there's simply too much at stake.
If you're facing criminal charges in New Jersey, a seasoned criminal defense attorney can make all the difference. Even if the charges you're facing are for minor crimes, attorneys can make all the difference at trial and in pre-trial negotiations. It's important to seek the help of a criminal defense lawyer if you're facing charges or jail time.