Two things you can do. The first you have already done--reaching out to experienced attorneys for guidance. I'm sure you will shortly hear from one or more of the several highly skilled criminal defense in your area who participate here. The second thing for you to do is reach out to one or more of them to discuss your situation. Most of us here offer free, if limited, consultations. Take advantage of that opportunity to educate yourself about your situation. By going to the Profile Page of any participating attorney you will be linked to that page. There's a good deal of information about each attorney's background and training. Each page will have one or more ways to contact that attorney directly by email or telephone. In the process you may find that having your own attorney is important to you and that, based upon the stated fees AND a willingness to enter into an installment arrangement, hiring a good attorney is actually feasible. In any event you should be able to get some useful education about your situation in the context of private conversation. Do not post any additional details about the incident anywhere on the Internet, including social media like Facebook. Good luck to you.
It sounds like you and I already spoke on the phone. If you can't afford an attorney, apply for the public defender. Remember though, with two second degree charges you are facing a maximum of ten (10) years in prison on each offense. You definitely need someone who knows what they are doing in your corner at this point.
You need legal representation. If you truly can't afford an attorney and you qualify, you need to be represented by a public defender. Otherwise, keep shopping around until you find a lawyer who is willing to represent you based on what you're financial situation is or you're going to wind up representing yourself. Second degree charges are serious, as in you face up to 10 years in jail on each count if you're convicted. The stakes are high. You're a mother and aunt. See if in the meantime you can schedule a consultation with an attorney in person for further guidance and don't talk about your case until you can do so in a confidential setting.
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You absolutely need an attorney. With a second degree charge you are facing up to ten years in state prison. Additionally DYFS (now referred to as CPP) could get involved and charge you administratively.
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Apply for public defender. Good luck.
Please be advised my answers to questions does not constitute legal advise and you should not rely on it, due to the fact that we have never met, I have not been aprised of the facts in you case nor have I reviewed any documents.
What you cannot afford to do is go to jail for 10 years and leave your children without their mom. If you are asking what could happen if you have the kids come speak highly of you, the answer is that what could happen is that you could go to jail for 10 years+. If you can't afford a lawyer, then either apply for the PD or perhaps try and borrow the money to pay a lawyer. Think of it like you need a lifesaving operation. Would you operate on yourself?
Law Offices of James A. Abate Jabatelaw.com (732) 412-2364
They are not kidding around so you should not either. Your DYFS situation will likely work itself out. But a 2nd degree endangering is not a joke. There is a presumption on State prison time. Now in reality this likely will work out too. Much more information is needed to determine that. But your record and job prospects may be permanently damaged. Get the best criminal defense attorney you can afford,. if there is money problems apply for the PD.
In addition to the public defender's office, several NJ county bar associations offer free or reduced price legal services. Contact the bar association in your county to see if it offers any such service.
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