Criminal Mischief

How Do I Reach Out to a New Jersey Attorney if I’m Already in Jail?

An arrest is a scary time for anyone. No matter the charge, being in jail can severely impact your psyche and disposition. It’s important to find representation as soon as possible. Not only will a New Jersey attorney be able to help you through the legal proceedings, but they can also be a source of calm. Contrary to popular belief, being in jail does not immediately cut you off from the rest of the world. There are several ways to contact an attorney after your arrest.

Private New Jersey Attorney

For those who can afford it, there are two ways you can contact a private attorney to hire their legal services.

Personal Contact

If you already have an attorney or know one from a previous case or friend/family, you can contact them after the arrest. You’ll get an initial phone call after your processing. Also, you can typically make 1-2 calls a week, depending on where you’re being held and what your charges are. 

When making your initial phone call, you can ask for access to personal items taken during processing. You’ll be allowed to find the business card or contact number for your lawyer. Even though this is a good way to get in direct contact with your lawyer, there’s always the chance their office may miss your call or have to get back in touch with you later. For this reason, it’s recommended you contact your lawyer through a trusted friend or family member.

New Jersey attorney

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

Secondary Contact

The best way to get in contact with a private lawyer is to contact a friend or family member to act on your behalf. The initial setup with a lawyer isn’t always guaranteed to happen on the first phone call. Some may require a consultation fee to start the process. Because of the lack of readily available communication in jail, it’s easier and more efficient to act through a third party.

When you contact your friend or family member, you may wish to give them the name or contact information of a lawyer if you already have one you know. Otherwise, be sure to tell them what charges you are being held under. That way they can find a New Jersey attorney who specializes in those cases. Having a lawyer that knows the laws surrounding your case is essential to ensure that you receive the best legal advice and defense possible.

Public Defenders

If you are unable to afford a private attorney, you will be appointed a court-ordered public defender. Although you are not required to have one, it is highly recommended that you work with a public defender if possible. Having an attorney on your side is the best way to help you process your case.

When you are first arrested, you’ll be given a date for your initial hearing. This is usually as soon as possible. Depending on the charges, you may be held in jail until that hearing or be allowed out on bail. The process of getting a public defender is the same either way. During the hearing process, you’ll be asked if you have legal defense or if you need a public defender assigned to you. 

Financial Proof

In order to be officially assigned a public defender, you’ll have to prove that you are unable to afford an attorney. You only need to prove economic hardship for yourself and your immediate household family members (such as spouses and parents). You are not obligated to ask for financial assistance from friends and other family members. A judge will not use their financial situation to assess whether or not you are qualified to apply for a public defender.

Contacting Your Public Defender

After you are approved by the court, you will be given the contact information for the public defender assigned to your case. If you are out on bail, you will have to arrange to meet with your public defender. If you are still being held in jail, they will come to meet with you for the initial consultation. You only have to pay your public defender if you lose your case. They are often less expensive than private attorneys.

The Benefits of a Private New Jersey Attorney

Any representation is better than none. However, it’s recommended that you hire a private attorney if you are able to do so. First, public defenders are often overworked and underpaid. They will do their best to fight for you and help you win, but they are also working on several other cases at the same time. This means they can become more easily distracted. A private attorney, however, can refuse certain cases. They can ensure that they are only taking on a workload they can handle.

A private attorney is also going to be more specialized than a public defender. Private attorneys often dedicate their practice to certain types of cases, such as personal injury or car accidents. If you are facing charges for a very specific type of crime, having an attorney who is well versed in those laws is critical to your defense.

Contact a New Jersey Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal charges, you need a qualified and experienced New Jersey attorney on your side. Attorney Leon Matchin has helped clients charged with traffic or criminal violations build a strong and valuable legal defense. His years of experience allow him to navigate the New Jersey court system and help his clients. If you or someone you know is in jail and needs legal assistance, contact Attorney Matchin at (833) 732-7320. You can also email him at to discuss your case and schedule a consultation.

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