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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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Should You Go to Trial?


Although every defendant in the United States has the right to his or her day in court, there are cases in which it might be in your best interests to enter a plea agreement. One of the greatest benefits of engaging an experienced criminal defense attorney is that he or she will help you navigate the New Jersey criminal justice system. In some cases, it may be the best course to discuss how to mitigate the potential punishments for an offense.

There may be compelling reasons to avoid going to trial:

A Paramus man was accused of stealing over a million dollars over three years through an overbilling scheme. He agreed to pay restitution and, remarkably, received just five years’ probation.

The man entered a guilty plea to second-degree theft. He admitted to stealing at least $75,000 from the business, but agreed to make restitution of $80,000. The business from which he stole the money retains its right to pursue him for additional funds in civil court. The company says it lost more than a million dollars, after all.

According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:43-3 and § 2C:43-6, second-degree theft punishments include a minimum five-year to maximum 10-year prison sentence plus a maximum fine of $150,000 (or twice the amount of money the victim lost in the crime).

Bottom Line: The defendant has traded hard prison time for probation. His restitution is reasonable. He may have taken the best course by entering a plea arrangement.

Each defendant’s case is unique. Every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. It may be in the defendant’s best interests to go to trial, and the prosecutor must prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

To arrange an initial case evaluation, contact New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Criminal Trial Attorney John W. Tumelty today by filling out our contact form or calling 609.385.4010.

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